The Class of 2015 selected Professor Jon Hanson to receive the prestigious Albert M. Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award for Teaching Excellence. He was recognized for his work inside the classroom as “a creative and effective teacher, combining presentations, narratives and hands-on projects,” as well as his work outside the classroom.
“We have the power and tools to make a more just world,” said Victoria White-Mason ’15 in introducing Hanson at Class Day. “Thank you Professor Hanson, for your beautiful example.”
Hanson thanked the Class of 2015 for this “greatest professional honor” and went on to describe why they are the “most inspiring and amazing class to graduate from HLS in the last 25 years.” Many of them came to HLS to advance justice and have managed to hold on to that desire by pushing for change beyond HLS, traveling to Ferguson, Mo., writing op-eds, drafting legislation, all while juggling challenges of law school. “You’ve already made a difference,” Hanson told them. “We will miss you. Our world needs you.”
Hanson is the Alfred Smart Professor of Law, the faculty director of The Systemic Justice Project, and the director of The Project on Law and Mind Sciences at Harvard Law School. His teaching and scholarship meld social psychology, social cognition, economics, history and law.
Hanson and Jacob Lipton ’14 launched The Systemic Justice Project last year to provide students with a new way to think about the role that law and lawyers play in society. The first annual Systemic Justice Conference was held in April and featured six teams of HLS students who demonstrated how public-policy problems might be addressed from this broader perspective.
Hanson also devised a project he called “Frontier Torts,” in which students in his first-year torts class explored several developing areas of tort law in a much more interactive fashion than the casebook method would allow. The method encourages students to think “outside the legal box” in order to better comprehend the limits of law and the role it plays, and could play, in dealing with social problems.
This is the third time Hanson has received the HLS teaching award. He first won in 1999 and then again in 2011.
The Sacks-Freund Award recognizes a single faculty member each year for teaching ability, attentiveness to student concerns and general contributions to student life at the law school. It was established in 1992 and is named in honor of the late Harvard Law School Professors Albert Sacks ’48 and Paul Freund S.J. D. ’32. This year’s finalists included Professors Richard Fallon, Richard Lazarus ’79, John Manning ’85 and Jeannie Suk ’02. Recent recipients include Tyler Giannini, Benjamin Sachs and William Rubenstein ’86.
Pattanayak receives staff appreciation award
Catherine Pattanayak ’04 was selected by the Class of 2015 to receive the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Appreciation Award for her “extraordinary support of public interest students and their careers.” The award is given each year to a member of the staff who demonstrates commitment to the student experience and concern for students’ lives and work at the law school.
“Thank all of you for trusting me with your hopes, as well as fears,” Pattanayak told students after receiving the award. “Make the difference we know you can in the world.”
Pattanayak is an associate director in the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising. She has worked in OPIA since 2009 after practicing law in both the public and private sectors. She was a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in 2014.
Pattanayak is the 20th recipient of the staff award, and the 12th since the award was renamed for Suzanne Richardson, who was dean of students at HLS from 1993-2004.