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Release: Aug. 29, 2001

Four women law faculty named distinguished professors, endowed chairs

IOWA CITY -- Four women professors in the University of Iowa College of Law have been elevated to endowed chairs or named professorships in the college. These academic honors recognize members who have made outstanding contributions to teaching, scholarship, and service within their respective specialties.

Patricia A. Cain was named the Aliber Family Chair in Law; Lea S. VanderVelde was named to the Josephine Witte Chair in Law; while Margaret F. Brinig was designated as the Edward F. Howry Professor of Law; and Adrien K. Wing was designated as the Bessie Dutton Murray Professor of Law.

Cain, who has been a member of the law faculty for 10 years, spent the first 17 years of her teaching career on the University of Texas law faculty. She specializes in federal tax law, wills and estates, real property, and feminist legal theory. The Aliber Family Chair is customarily awarded to a faculty member who is a nationally recognized scholar in federal tax law and estate planning.

VanderVelde, a member of the law faculty for 21 years, focuses her teaching and research on employment law, property, and constitutional law. Appointment to the Witte Chair is based on a professor's achieving an outstanding national reputation for research that cuts across disciplinary lines. VanderVelde has done much of her recent scholarly work in the history of employment relationships.

Brinig joined the law faculty in 1999 after spending 24 years on the faculty of George Mason University School of Law. She specializes in the law of economics and the family, contracts law and alternative dispute resolution. The professorship she holds gets its name from the legendary Washington, D.C. trial lawyer and native Iowan, Edward F. Howry. The Howry Professor designation is reserved for a faculty member who has dedicated his or her teaching and scholarly career to the study and improvement of the civil justice system, including the performance of their respective roles by lawyers, judges and juries.

Wing joined the law faculty in 1987 where she specializes in constitutional law, race relations, and international law, with particular interest in constitutional issues in the Middle East and the African continent. Wing's designation as the Bessie Dutton Murray Professor makes her, behind Geraldene Felton, former College of Nursing dean and Kelting Chair holder, the second African-American female faculty member in recent UI history to hold a named professorship.

The Bessie Dutton Murray Professorship is awarded to a member of the law faculty who has demonstrated outstanding teaching, research, and community service in international issues, including special interest attention to the professional development of nontraditional students.

UI President Mary Sue Coleman and Provost Jon Whitmore approved all four designations last month on the basis of a formal proposal by Law College Dean N. William Hines and favorable recommendations from the University of Iowa Committee on Distinguished Professorships and Faculty Chairs.

In announcing the awards, Hines commented: "These are richly deserved recognitions for the splendid academic accomplishments and notable professional achievements of these four excellent faculty colleagues. It is a mere happenstance that all four of these honorees are women faculty members, but I am nevertheless proud that women faculty now hold one-third of the endowed chairs and distinguished professorships in the College of Law.

"Until less than 30 years ago, there had never been a woman law faculty member at Iowa. The progress of women in the legal profession in the past generation is a little short of remarkable," Hines said.

The UI College of Law faculty is made up of 50 professors, including seven full-time clinical law professors. These four recent awards bring to 15 the number of law faculty members holding endowed chairs and named professorships. In fall 2001, the College of Law has an approximate student enrollment of 700, made up of 680 juris doctorate students and 20 master of laws students.