LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas has named an alumnus who is a nationally recognized public administrator as the new director of its School of Public Affairs and Administration.
Reggie Robinson, who has held numerous leadership and advisory posts at the state and federal level, was selected to lead the top-ranked school after a nationwide search. As director, Robinson will return to the institution where he earned his law degree in 1987.
“I’m pleased to appoint an experienced administrator and dedicated public servant,” said Danny Anderson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Reggie captivated those he met with his strategic view and knowledge of the public sector. KU is fortunate to attract a person with administrative talent and distinction in the field as a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.”
Most recently, Robinson has been professor of law and director for the Center of Law and Government at Washburn University. He has also served as the president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents and chief of staff to the KU chancellor. He has served the federal government beginning as a White House fellow in 1993 and in a number of senior positions with the Department of Justice, including service as deputy associate attorney general of the United States. Robinson also served active duty in the Army.
“I am thoroughly pleased about this exciting opportunity to lead one of my alma mater's truly outstanding academic units,” Robinson said. “I am deeply grateful to the leadership of the university and the College for this opportunity. I can't wait to work with the distinguished set of colleagues – both faculty and staff – that await in the School of Public Affairs and Administration.”
Robinson has a strong record of public service focused on civil rights, juvenile justice and higher education policy. Throughout his career and volunteer experiences he has encouraged people with leadership capacity to step outside their own assumptions and perspectives, bridge different points of view, see common ground and help others see it as well.
“Reggie understands government and public service from the inside out. He knows how to move policy and institutions forward, often turning obstacles into opportunities. The school welcomes this experienced, perceptive and caring leader as our new director, and together we look forward to advancing teaching and research in the public service,” said Steven Maynard-Moody, professor in the school and chair of the search committee.
Robinson replaces Marilu Goodyear, who will step down after nine years as director. Goodyear has been appointed as the assistant vice chancellor for academic program development for the Edwards Campus and will continue to teach in the School of Public Affairs and Administration.
The School of Public Affairs and Administration is consistently ranked as the best graduate school in the nation in city management and urban policy, and it is among the top five graduate schools in the nation in public management administration (2013 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools).
The distinction reflects the school’s commitment to providing a top-notch master’s degree in public administration education to those who seek to manage at the local, city, county, state, national or international levels, or in the nonprofit sector. The MPA degree is offered at the Edwards and Lawrence campuses and in Topeka. The school is also currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of its undergraduate degree, which is available through the Edwards Campus. In addition, many of the school’s doctoral graduates are now professors at universities with renowned public administration departments.
Through its Public Management Center, the school provides award-winning professional development programs to the state and regional workforce: Kansas Certified Public Manager Program, Emerging Leaders Academy, Law Enforcement Leadership Academy, Supervisory Leadership Training, along with custom courses and annual training events, including the Inspiring Women in Public Administration Conference, National Forum for Black Public Administrators Executive Leadership Institute and the Kansas City / County Management Conference.
LAWRENCE — When the first widespread computer virus was born, government didn’t shut down all computer science research. Similarly, now that synthetic biology, a field of science that uses standardized pieces of DNA to build new life forms, medications, industrial processes and biological systems, is growing rapidly, it should not be overregulated at the cost of future innovations, a University of Kansas law professor says.
Andrew Torrance, professor of law and Docking Faculty Scholar, has co-authored a new study on synthetic biology, intellectual property and the standards that govern the field with Linda Kahl of the BioBricks Foundation, the leading synthetic biology institution. It has been published in the Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal, and it is based on a 2012 study Torrance was commissioned by the National Academies to prepare.
Synthetic biology is being used to design new medications to fight malaria, is developing radically new technologies such as a television in which yeast cells genetically engineered to bioluminesce act as the television’s pixels, produce biological computers and create living organisms from raw organic chemicals. Yet there is also concern that this “dual use” technology could be used with malicious intent to design new forms of disease pathogens or that there could be accidents.
“From its founding the synthetic biology community has been concerned about ensuring safety, health and ethical practices,” said Torrance, who holds a doctorate in biology from Harvard. “The community has explicitly committed itself to uses of the technology that benefit humanity and avoidance of uses that could endanger public safety, especially those with nefarious purposes.”
In the study, Torrance and Kahl examine all of the proposed standards that have been proposed to regulate synthetic biology, including standards regarding structure, function and description of genetic components, data sharing, biosecurity and law. In fact, several years ago the BioBricks Foundation asked Torrance to contribute to the early drafting of a sort of “legal constitution” for synthetic biology, called the BioBricks Public Agreement, intended to ensure the safe and beneficial invention and use of standard biological parts.
Torrance and Kahl also consider the effects that intellectual property rights may have on encouraging or discouraging research in the burgeoning field. Like other areas of biotechnology, there is no federal statute specifically designed to govern synthetic biology. Instead, an influential regulation called the Coordinated Framework assigns agencies such as the FDA, EPA and USDA with shared responsibility for ensuring safe practices. One unique factor of synthetic biology is the degree to which its research community has engaged in careful self-regulation to keep the field open, democratic and safe, Torrance said. As the science progresses and the methods and raw materials of synthetic biology become ever more available, practicable and attractive to citizen biologists in the general public, Torrance expects that trend continuing.
“I see synthetic biology becoming further democratized — something that almost anyone with a modest biological background can become involved in,” Torrance said. “Just as software programming became a common and widespread skill in which millions of people now participate, programming DNA, designing new biological machines and constructing novel organisms is rapidly leaving the confines of professional laboratories and entering the home laboratories of citizen biotinkerers.”
However, as more people get involved in a field that builds new organisms and puts together building blocks of DNA, there is understandably a concern for accidents or misuse. The field has been very open in its dealings, even regularly working cooperatively with FBI agents specifically assigned to monitor the field. The field uses an open science ethos, arguing that its knowledge should be available to all, and that the more people who take part, the broader the knowledge base that can be built, and more potential there is both for beneficial discoveries and for detecting and preventing malicious uses.
There is also debate as to whether the field is a threat to traditional drug development companies and whether the ability to patent DNA can effectively prevent people outside of large corporations and major university research labs to take part. There are yet to be good answers to those questions, such as whether a fear of being sued will stifle innovation by individuals in the field, as the science is still only about a decade old. Torrance suggests that answers will come as evidence accumulates and legal conflicts multiply.
While there has yet to be an overwhelming push by policymakers or the public to write new laws or create new standards governing the field, the potential for accidents such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl may exist.
“It is too early to know precisely what roles law will play in the development of synthetic biology and its innovations,” Torrance said. “However, since law will certainly influence the evolution of synthetic biology, it is vital to think carefully and strategically about constructive roles law should play in ensuring beneficial innovation, biosafety and sound ethical practices.
“As the field of synthetic biology explodes there will be an increasing number of success stories, but along with these, there will almost certainly be accidents, ethical breaches and malicious misuses. It is vitally important to create a legal framework that fosters the benefits of this technology while vigilantly guarding against bad behavior. It is exceedingly difficult to develop any new technology if you’re not willing to take some risks. The only way to eliminate risk entirely is to eliminate innovation. Wise laws can help assure that the great promise of synthetic biology is achieved at minimal risk.”
LAWRENCE — Stephen Ware, professor of law at the University of Kansas, is available to speak with media about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today on Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison, 12-1200, a bankruptcy case relating to the Constitution’s requirement that some matters be decided by judges with life tenure, which bankruptcy judges lack.
Ware is an expert in bankruptcy law, judicial selection and alternative dispute resolution. His scholarship has been cited by the Supreme Court and in at least 20 other cases. He is the author of two books and more than 30 scholarly articles, and he has testified before both houses of Congress and in court as an expert witness. He has appeared several times on television and radio, and he has been quoted on bankruptcy law in The New York Times and other publications. He coaches the KU Law bankruptcy moot court team as well as teaching all of the law school's courses in bankruptcy and debtor-creditor law.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that although bankruptcy judges lack life tenure, they may rule on matters the Constitution otherwise reserved for life-tenured judges if the parties consent to the bankruptcy judge having that power or if the bankruptcy judge proposes a ruling and a life-tenured judge reviews that proposal anew. Ware can explain the ruling and comment on its implications.
LAWRENCE — When it comes to debt and bankruptcy, some things never change. While people are no longer imprisoned for failing to pay their debts as England did a century ago, a new article by a University of Kansas law professor shows that the key arguments about enforcing debts or relieving them in bankruptcy have changed very little since then.
Stephen Ware, professor of law, has authored “A 20th Century Debate About Imprisonment for Debt,” which explores the parliamentary debate in England circa 1909 about whether to continue imprisoning debtors and notes how current debates about consumer debt in the United States rest on some very similar arguments. The article will be published by the American Journal of Legal History.
“Many people who settled in the 13 colonies that became the United States were fleeing debts in England, so it’s no surprise that the U.S. ended debtors’ prisons long before England, which continued to use them well into the 20th century,” Ware said.
While the United States has done away with debtors’ prisons, many parallels exist today. For example, debtors who lose lawsuits can be ordered by courts to appear in person to answer questions about their income and assets. If debtors fail to appear at that time and place, they can be held in contempt of court, and an arrest warrant will be issued. The debtor can stop the arrest by agreeing to a payment plan, but if the debtor again misses payments, he or she may be arrested.
“While technically jailed for contempt of court, not the underlying debt, that distinction may be lost on a struggling debtor who cannot afford a lawyer to explain it and advocate for the debtor,” Ware said.
More fundamental parallels connect the England Ware studied with the United States of today. Then and now, when unpaid creditors win a lawsuit, they don’t actually receive money but simply have a legal document (judgment) stating they are owed money. In order to receive payment, some sort of additional pressure on the debtor is often required.
“But what types of pressure should the law permit, and when should debtors be relieved of that pressure by filing for bankruptcy? Those are the perennial questions,” said Ware, who has taught debt-collection and bankruptcy law for more than 15 years.
Today that pressure on judgment debtors often takes the form of wage garnishment. States have varying restrictions on how much, if any, of a person’s wages may be garnished, and there is a federal limit on how much can be withheld as well. Bankruptcy usually ends garnishment and other forms of debt-collection pressure, Ware said, so about 1 million debtors a year file for bankruptcy in the United States. Bankruptcy relief was much less generous in early 20th century England, according to Ware’s article.
In both 1909 England and the United States today, some argue that a typical debtor’s wages and assets should be protected from the collection efforts of creditors, especially those whose business practices seem designed to exploit unsophisticated or desperate borrowers. In contrast, the other side in this perennial debate argues that reducing the pressure on debtors to pay increases lenders’ losses from bad loans and thus makes them less likely to lend to borrowers who lack valuable collateral or strong payment histories.
“Easily available credit for low- and moderate-income borrowers was the key issue in England a century ago and is still central in today’s consumer debt and bankruptcy debates,” Ware said. “In every era, it seems, some argue that a plentiful supply of consumer credit lowers interest rates and helps people borrow in ways that improve their lives, while others argue that it tempts people to live beyond their means — with bad results not just for those debtors unable to pay but also for their families and society as a whole.”
These recurring issues appear in several of Ware’s classes, including bankruptcy and consumer law. While bankruptcy law focuses on relief for those unable to pay their debts, “consumer law generally tries to protect people from incurring too much debt — or the wrong kinds of debt — in the first place,” Ware said.
Consumer law is changing rapidly as a new federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, considers new regulations on several aspects of consumer credit agreements, including consumer arbitration, a topic on which Ware has testified before both houses of Congress and as an expert witness in court.
Consumer credit agreements are now influenced by far more complex regulation and technology than existed in the era of English debtors’ prisons, when credit was usually extended by a local merchant who knew the borrower personally. Today’s credit bureaus electronically track billions of transactions a year and assemble the data on each consumer in detailed reports available to lenders thousands of miles away who allow consumers to apply for credit online.
While more complex regulation and technology create new issues for lawyers, Ware emphasizes that the basic policy questions for lawmakers remain largely the same as they were generations ago.
“Usury law and other regulations of consumer credit agreements have been with us for centuries, and they raise very deep, timeless questions about human nature,” Ware said. “When are people suited to deciding for themselves which legally binding agreements to make, and when do they need lawmakers to restrict their choices so risky options are off the menu? And if lawmakers prohibit certain credit agreements as too risky, does that reduce bad loans or just drive them to a black market?”
LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Law honored Class of 2014 graduates at a hooding ceremony May 17. During the ceremony, seven students received awards for distinguishing themselves in scholarship, leadership and service to the law school and the community.
- Xavier Andrews, Kansas City, Missouri, Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award
- David Barclay, Andover, Class of 1949 Leadership Award
- Kate Marples, Lawrence and Dodge City, Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award
- Amanda Marshall, Goddard, Robert F. Bennett Award
- Peter Montecuollo, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award
- Whitney Novak, Shawnee, Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement
- Jacob Wamego, Mayetta, Janean Meigs Memorial Award
Banner carrier Paul Cassat, Overland Park, was also recognized during the ceremony. The banner carrier is a student who has excelled academically and who carries the highest grade-point average by the end of the fall semester in the third year of law study.
The award winners were part of a class composed of 119 recipients of the Juris Doctor, five Doctor of Juridical Science graduates and two Master of Laws in American Legal Studies graduates.
Funds for the awards are managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.
Student award recipients are listed below by hometown.
David Barclay received the Class of 1949 Leadership Award, given to the student who has contributed most significantly to the overall experience of students in Green Hall. Barclay revived the American Constitution Society chapter at KU Law and served as its president. He was a prestigious Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar, assisting students in the first-year class to develop sound study habits and strong analytical skills. Barclay was one of four finalists in the 2013 In-House Moot Court Competition and served on the Moot Court Council. He also served as one of two student members of the faculty Curriculum Reform Committee, helped legal writing students as a teaching assistant and was an articles editor for the Kansas Law Review. Barclay is the son of Joanne and Andrew Barclay and a graduate of Andover High School and KU.
DOUGLAS AND FORD COUNTIES
Lawrence, Dodge City
Kate Marples received the Samuel Mellinger Scholarship, Leadership and Service Award, given to the graduate who has most distinguished him or herself in the combined areas of scholarship, leadership and service. As symposium editor for the Kansas Law Review, Marples organized a sold-out conference on “Waters of the United States: Adapting Law for Degradation and Drought.” She served as the student director of the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies, a Dean’s Fellow and a Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar. A member of the Moot Court Council, Marples’ team advanced to the semi-final round of a national environmental law moot court competition. She served as a teaching assistant in the Lawyering Program and as a student member of both the faculty Curriculum Reform Committee and the Academic Committee. During law school, Marples volunteered at the Lawrence Homeless Shelter and through Family Promise. She also helped coach the KU Crew team. In April, she received a campuswide Sustainability Leadership Award. Marples has conducted all of this service to the law school and the community while maintaining an academic ranking in the top 10 percent of her class. Marples is the daughter of Doug and Jane Marples and a graduate of Dodge City High School and KU.
Jacob Wamego received the Janean Meigs Memorial Award, given to the student who has demonstrated a caring spirit in service to the students of the law school or the community at large. Wamego was instrumental in rebuilding the Native American Law Students Association into a thriving organization. He served as president of the organization in both his second and third years, and he helped organize the 2013 Diversity in Law Banquet. He brought speakers of national prominence to KU Law to give presentations to students and played a substantial role in organizing and administering the Tribal Law and Government Center’s annual conference in 2012, 2013 and 2014 – including taking on a speaking role in 2013. Wamego competed in the 2014 National NALSA moot court competition, raised money to send NALSA members to Federal Bar Association Indian Law conferences and helped the law school in recruiting well-qualified Native American students. He was recently elected to serve in the National NALSA organization. Wamego is the son of Lisa Wamego and a graduate of Royal Valley High School and Washburn University.
Whitney Novak received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement, which goes to the graduating student selected by the faculty as having made the most significant contribution toward overall legal scholarship. She served as executive note and comment editor for the Kansas Law Review. Her note “Blood Over Bond? A Call to Define Kansas’s Requirements for Biological Fathers to Retain Parental Rights” was published in Volume 61. A member of the Moot Court Council, she was part of the team that received best brief honors in the 2013 In-House Moot Court Competition. She was a Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholar, helping first-year students improve their study habits, analytical skills and test scores. Novak was among the students at the very top of the 2014 graduating class based on grade-point average. She is the daughter of Joe and Dena Novak and a graduate of Mill Valley High School and KU.
Amanda Marshall received the Robert F. Bennett Award, recognizing a graduate whose undergraduate degree is from a Kansas university or college and who has demonstrated leadership qualities through public service. As symposium editor for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy, Marshall organized a highly successful symposium titled “Preventing the Ghost Town: What Rural Communities Need to Do to Survive in the Modern Economy.” She brought nationally recognized speakers to KU Law, attracting a full house of attendees. She also served as a Westlaw representative and is a member of the Kansas Bar Association’s Diversity Committee. Marshall is the daughter of Doug and Sheryl Stanley and a graduate of Bishop Carroll High School and Newman University.
From Kansas City
Xavier Andrews received the Justice Lloyd Kagey Leadership Award, given to the graduate who has most distinguished him or herself through leadership in the law school. Andrews served as president of the Black Law Students Association. In that position, he played a key role in organizing Thurgood Marshall Law Day, during which high school students from Kansas City traveled to the law school for a day of legal education and mentorship, and he directed the yearly BLSA Thanksgiving food drive for members of the Lawrence community who lack the means to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast. He served as a judge on KU’s Traffic Court and was the business manager for the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the Moot Court Council. He served as an intern at the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office, where under proper supervision, he prosecuted criminal cases before juries. He recently accepted an offer to join the office on a permanent basis as an assistant district attorney. Andrews is the son of Felecia Andrews and a graduate of Hickman Mills High School and Missouri Western State University.
From Sioux Falls
Peter Montecuollo received the Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award, given to the graduate whose service to his or her fellow students demonstrates the greatest promise for contribution to the legal profession and society. Montecuollo served as a teaching assistant in the legal writing program, providing both substantive help to first-year law students and general advice on sound writing and study habits, and as a mentor, helping many of his student peers prepare for job interviews, exams and with their scholarship for the Kansas Law Review. He served as a note and comment editor on the Law Review. His note, “Making the Best of an Imperfect World: An Argument in Favor of Judicial Discretion to Reduce Section 1927 Sanction Awards,” was published in Volume 62. Montecuollo is the son of Larry and Dee Werner and a graduate of Lincoln Senior High School (Sioux Falls), Minnesota State University Moorhead and KU.
LAWRENCE — The Trans-Pacific Partnership has the potential to be the most economically and politically significant free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, but it is being hindered by a nontransparent drafting process and perceptions of favoring American corporate interests over poverty alleviation, according to a new article by a University of Kansas international trade law expert.
Raj Bhala, associate dean for International and Comparative Law and Rice Distinguished Professor at the School of Law, has authored “Trans-Pacific Partnership or Trampling Poor Partners? A Tentative Critical Review.” The article was published in the Manchester Journal of International Economic Law the same week President Barack Obama toured Asia discussing the agreement and other issues. The piece, listed in three different top-10, most-downloaded Social Science Research Resources Network categories, outlines problems that have stalled adoption of the agreement among the United States and 11 other nations that account for 40 percent of global gross domestic product.
“I didn’t start out seeking to criticize this agreement. I needed to be familiar with it to write the new edition of my next textbook and stay current in the classroom when teaching my students,” Bhala said. “As I learned more I became more skeptical and had more concerns. It became clear we are thinking too much about the wealthy elite, that our trade policy is ever-more corporatized, and we are also hearing these concerns from some of our closest friends and allies abroad.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, commonly known as TPP, was conceived in 2006 among four nations and has since expanded to 12. It is part of a growing trend among the U.S. and many other members of the World Trade Organization to form free-trade agreements, especially given the failure of the Doha Round to yield a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced multilateral deal. The U.S. alone has free-trade agreements with 20 nations, Korea, Colombia and Panama being the most recent.
One of the primary problems with the TPP is the lack of transparency in its drafting, Bhala said. Draft texts of free-trade agreements are generally made available to journalists and the public. Just two of the 29 TPP chapters were made available to the public. Those sections, addressing environmental and intellectual property law, only became so when they were leaked to WikiLeaks. Bhala’s scholarship draws from journalistic coverage of the leaked sections and analyses of domestic and foreign legal, governmental and nongovernmental organizations directly familiar with TPP talks.
American involvement in TPP makes economic sense, but also is driven by a strategic shift in focus from the seemingly easily troubled Middle East to the dynamic, entrepreneurial Asia-Pacific region, Bhala said. That strategic shift also means, if TPP takes effect, solidifying economic and political alliances to help contain China, even though the administration prefers not to make that admission. It is reminiscent of agreements the U.S. had with Western European nations to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Even if China ultimately joins TPP, the U.S. and its allies already will have written rules on key issues of importance to China, such as duty-free, quota-free treatment for almost all traded goods, services sector liberalization, the behavior of state-owned enterprises and rules of origin for textiles and apparel merchandise. TPP then will be a “take it or leave it” proposition for China.
“Bluntly put, TPP and the pivot toward Asia is certainly justified by economic and demographic realities and projections. But the biggest reason is containing China,” Bhala said. “And setting rules of a big regional trade club before China joins, if it ever does, thus constraining it to play by those rules.”
However, in writing TPP rules, the U.S. and its trading partners have had profound disagreements. The perception is that American demands are simply too harsh, lack empathy and overtly favor American corporate interests over the most pressing matter in the Asia-Pacific region: poverty alleviation for those earning less than a dollar a day, and economic security for the fragile new middle class earning between $2 and $20 a day.
Two examples are opening Japanese agricultural markets to more imports from the U.S. and the sourcing of fabric for Vietnamese textiles, that country’s biggest industry. There are also disagreements on making Japanese markets more open to American cars and significant disputes on intellectual property. In the case of the latter, patents for pharmaceuticals, such as HIV/AIDS medications, are especially contentious. While American interests push for longer patent protection for medications, data exclusivity and so-called “evergreening,” Southeast Asian countries and NGOs argue that doing so only protects bloated corporations and stifles innovation while locals continue to die.
Those arguments are just a few of the problems holding up successful conclusion of TPP. Despite the differences among negotiating parties and political backlog in Washington, D.C., that has hampered American trade influence, Bhala believes there is still a good chance the parties will resolve their differences and finalize the free-trade agreement. That could be a boon not only to the nations involved in the agreement, but also to students in KU Law’s international trade courses. KU Law grads are practicing in 18 countries, including several Asian nations involved in TPP. The agreement could present many more opportunities for them, Bhala said.
“Essentially, this free-trade agreement is born of failure at the WTO level and the strategic shift to Asia,” Bhala said. “It’s bogged down by political gridlock in D.C., and a potpourri of disagreements on ancient issues such as farming and 21st century issues such as intellectual property, and the U.S. cannot bully its way to get a deal. I’m optimistic the U.S. will appreciate that sometimes helping our trading partners in the short term helps American in the long term.”
LAWRENCE — Three University of Kansas School of Law alumni with distinguished careers in the judiciary and public service are set to receive the school’s highest honor.
Retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice Edward Larson, Judge Mary Murguia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and Judge Julie Robinson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas will be honored with the law school’s Distinguished Alumni Award at an invitation-only ceremony Saturday, May 10, in Lawrence.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Justice Edward Larson earned his KU law degree in 1960, then practiced law and served as a municipal judge in Hays. In 1987 he was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals and then tapped for the Kansas Supreme Court in 1995. He retired in 2002. In addition to his service on the bench, Larson served on the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, was president of the Kansas University Law Society, and served as a member of the Governor’s Committee on Children and Families and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet.
Judge Julie Robinson earned a bachelor’s in journalism at KU in 1978 and her law degree in 1981. Following law school, she clerked for Chief Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin E. Franklin and then served as an assistant U.S. attorney for 11 years, handling both civil litigation and criminal prosecutions. She served as a U.S. bankruptcy judge from 1994 to 2001, when she was appointed by President George W. Bush to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Robinson was the first African-American woman to serve on that court. She is past-president of the KU Law Board of Governors and has taught Trial Advocacy as an adjunct professor at KU Law. Robinson is a trustee of the Saint Paul School of Theology, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a commissioner of the U.S. Supreme Court Fellow program and was recently appointed to the board of trustees of the American Inns of Court.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to KU School of Law graduates who have distinguished themselves through exemplary service to the legal profession, their communities, the university, and the state or country. Since 1964, the school has honored 71 alumni “whose lives have benefited the community and whose noteworthy contributions throughout the year have brought honor to the School of Law.”
View previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients on the law school’s website.
New recipients of the James Woods Green Medallion, named in honor of the law school’s first dean, will also be recognized at the ceremony. The school presents medallions to its major financial contributors. This year’s honorees include Terry Arthur, Class of 1969, and Virginia Thomas Arthur; Chevron Products Company; Mark M. Deatherage, Class of 1985; Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch; David J. Gottlieb and Rita Sloan Gottlieb; Frederick B. Gould, Class of 1989, and Julie Pigott Gould; John W. Head and Lucia Orth Head; Harry H. Herington Jr., Class of 1993, and Cindy Herington; Leon and Lee T. Karelitz Trust; Kansas Women Attorneys Association; Lucy E. Mason, Class of 1992, and Cris Sena; Madeleine M. McDonough, Class of 1990; Omer G. Voss Jr; Wagstaff & Cartmell LLP; Martha S. Warren, Class of 1987; and Perry D. Warren, Class of 1973, and Janet Beebe Warren.
LAWRENCE — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran will receive a national award for his support of science research at 9:30 a.m. Monday, April 14, at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas.
Sen. Moran will receive the Champion of Science Award from the Science Coalition, a nonprofit organization of more than 50 of the nation’s top research universities, including KU. The award recognizes members of Congress for their support of science research conducted at universities and national labs across the country.
The senator will be presented the award by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on behalf of the Science Coalition. The chancellor and senator will be joined by a special guest, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, who will deliver keynote remarks at the event.
"Senator Moran understands the importance of federal investment in research and development, and he has been a strong advocate for the value of university research and the benefits it has for science and the economy,” Gray-Little said. “He is deserving of this award, and we’re honored for the opportunity to present it to him here at KU.
“In addition, it’s a tremendous honor for us to welcome Dr. Collins,” she said. “The NIH is the largest biomedical research organization in the world and a strong supporter of KU research, so we’re delighted for the chance to host the director.”
Moran is the second Kansas lawmaker to receive the Champion of Science Award. Thirty-five current members of Congress have received the award. Examples of Moran’s support of scientific research are listed in his award nomination.
Moran is hosting Collins throughout the day to highlight biomedical and bioscience initiatives in Kansas. Prior to the award ceremony, the chancellor and Moran will host Collins at a presentation of Kansas’ NIH Institutional Development Award program, which is designed to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH support for biomedical research by fostering research in states that have historically been underrepresented in NIH research participation. Kansas universities that have been invited to participate in this presentation include KU, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, Wichita State University and Washburn University.
Following the award ceremony, Moran and Collins will travel to KU Medical Center to meet with various Medical Center officials.
The NIH is a major source of biomedical research funding at KU. In Fiscal Year 2013, there were 601 NIH-funded projects at KU, totaling $103 million in expenditures. The NIH is home to the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging, which have granted national designation to the KU Cancer Center and the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
PUBLIC ACCESS: The award ceremony is open to the public, but seating is limited, and RSVPs are required. RSVP with Emma Cornish at 785-864-7100 or email@example.com.
MEDIA ACCESS: Media are invited to cover the award ceremony. Moran, Collins and Gray-Little will be available for interviews following the event at 10:45 a.m. For details, contact Joe Monaco at 785-864-7100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, Moran and Collins will be available to media at 1:30 p.m. in the Hemenway Life Sciences Innovation Building at the KU Medical Center. For details, contact Donna Peck at 913-588-5956 or email@example.com.