Students Establish Public Service Award

Gary Bellow

Credit: Martha Stewart Professor Gary Bellow’s “commitment to social justice” inspired a new award for HLS students and alumni.

In memory of an HLS professor known as a champion of public interest law, HLS students have created the Gary Bellow Public Service Award. Bellow ’60, who founded the School’s Clinical Program, died in April 2000.

According to the Bellow award group, the honor will be given annually to a student and a graduate “whose commitment to social justice makes us proud to be a part of the HLS community. Like Bellow, they inspire us with their enthusiasm and their innovative approach to lawyering. They demonstrate how lawyers can litigate, educate, advocate, and organize to promote social justice.” The inaugural award-winners are Aaron Bartley ’01, a leading organizer of Harvard’s “living wage” campaign as a third-year student; and Earl Phalen ’93 (’94), founder and CEO of the B.E.L.L. (Building Enterprises for Learning and Living) Foundation, a community service organization designed to increase the educational opportunities of children living in low-income communities. Accepting the award at a campus ceremony in October, Bartley urged students to foster a “community of resistance” to a dominant culture that he said does not respect public interest work. Phalen spoke about his love for children and his mission to educate them. “You’re participating in building a better future,” he said.

The award group, composed of representatives from several student organizations, formed during spring semester last year. Members considered nominations from students and faculty, and asked the student body to vote on a list of finalists. The group sought candidates in a variety of public service fields and, for the alumni nominees, from recent HLS graduating classes, according to Paul Krieger ’03.

Krieger, a member of the award group, praised Bellow’s widow, Jeanne Charn ’70, for her work with the student organizers. Charn currently serves as lecturer on law at HLS and director of the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center.

“Professor Charn has supported the efforts and helped to ensure that the award is in line with the work of Gary Bellow,” said Krieger.

In “A Common Good,” the Bulletin features alumni working in public service, including two Bellow award nominees, Christa Foster Crawford ’94 and Michael Ng ’01. The magazine profiled Earl Phalen in its Winter 1995 edition.