Davison M. Douglas Receives John Marshall Award

  • Exceptional Service
    Exceptional Service  Dean and Trustee Professor of Law A. Benjamin Spencer, at right, presented the award to Douglas during the Law School's commencement ceremony on May 20.  
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Former William & Mary Law School Dean and John Stewart Bryan Professor of Jurisprudence, Davison M. Douglas received the John Marshall Award during William & Mary Law School’s Commencement Ceremony at Kaplan Arena on Saturday, May 20. Dean and Trustee Professor of Law A. Benjamin Spencer presented the award given for exceptional service.

Among “the many tireless faculty and staff here,” said Spencer, “this year’s recipient is particularly noteworthy in both length of service given and the sheer devotion he has shown.” Most law school deans serve for a few years, but Douglas, he noted, served for 11. “During that time,” he said, Douglas “hired many of the faculty on the stage today and helped build the exceptional reputation of William & Mary Law School that we have today.” The dean added that the school will be honoring Douglas as he nears his retirement from the faculty in January.

Douglas was the longest-serving dean at the Law School during the past 50 years. While he was dean, the school raised more than $81 million toward the university’s "For the Bold" campaign.

A renowned constitutional historian, Douglas joined the faculty in 1990 and served as director of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law from 1997 to 2004. He also founded and directed the Election Law Program. Throughout his career, he has published numerous law review articles and books, including “Jim Crow Moves North: The Battle Over Northern School Segregation, 1865-1954” (Cambridge University Press). He has also lectured and served as a visiting professor at universities and law schools throughout the world.

The award honors the legal contributions of John Marshall (1755-1835), who served as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. Marshall was among the first students to study law under the tutelage of George Wythe at William & Mary.

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