Law Professor Robert E. Scott Receives Thomas Jefferson Award, U.Va.'s Highest Honor
October 22, 2004 --
The University of Virginia presented its highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award, to Robert E. Scott, professor and former dean of the School of Law, during Fall Convocation today. Scott joined the faculty in 1974 and was appointed the ninth dean of the Law School in 1991. He returned to full-time teaching and research in 2002.
Scott was recognized by the University for his "Integrity and honor, bold and skillful leadership, unfailing civility and uncompromising excellence… qualities that have distinguished Mr. Scott's tenure as dean and his thirty-five years of teaching and scholarship."
The award presentation was part of convocation ceremonies that included recognizing third-year U.Va. students who had earned intermediate honors, and a keynote address by David T. Gies, a former chairman of U.Va.'s Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, and the 2000 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award.
Given annually since 1955, the award honors a member of the University community who exemplifies the ideals of U.Va.'s founder through her or his influence, character and work. .
Under Scott's leadership, the School of Law completed a capital campaign in 2000, raising $203 million. Scott also spearheaded the most ambitious building project in the school's history, a $30 million renovation of the David A. Harrison III Law Grounds, completed in 1997, followed by a $7 million law student-faculty meeting and dining center, completed in 2002 and appropriately named "Scott Commons."
In addition to capital projects, Scott instituted the Mary Morton Parsons Seminars in Ethical Values, a program that provides insights into the moral and ethical responsibilities of the lawyer as public citizen, and founded the school's Principles & Practice Program, which brings leading practitioners and judges to the Law School to team teach advanced courses with full-time faculty.
An important part of Scott's role has been to set the intellectual tone and agenda for the Law School. Prior to becoming dean, he founded the Legal Studies Workshop at the school, one of the first faculty colloquia of its kind. As dean, he has urged the Law School community to aspire to preeminence in its teaching mission and in the equally important obligation of engaging in scholarly research that advances the University's core function as an institution dedicated to the search for truth.
Scott is currently the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Professor of Law and the Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law, and is a nationally renowned teacher and scholar in the fields of contracts, commercial law and bankruptcy. He has written four books on contracts and commercial transactions, is the author of more than three dozen scholarly articles and is widely recognized as setting the standard for the economic analysis of the law of contracts.
Scott has served a number of times as chair of the American Association of Law Schools' sections on Contract Law, Law and Economics, and Commercial and Consumer Law. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999, and has been a fellow of the American Bar Foundation since 1993.
In April 2000, the U.Va. Board of Visitors established the Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professorship in Law, made possible by an outpouring of support from more than 250 of his colleagues on the faculty, former students, and other alumni and friends of the school. Together they committed $1.9 million for the professorship.
Scott earned his bachelor's degree cum laude from Oberlin College, and is a 1968 graduate of the William & Mary School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review, a member of the Order of the Coif and had the highest academic average in his class. Scott earned an S.J.D. from the University of Michigan in 1973, after which he joined the law faculty at William & Mary. In 1974 he joined the Virginia law faculty. As a visiting professor at Columbia Law School in 1987-1988, the law students voted him the outstanding faculty member of the year.
Katherine Thompson Jackson, (434) 924-3269