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Emeritus Professor Tom Green Gives $75,000 to Legal History

Emeritus Professor Tom Green Gives $75,000 to Legal History

By Amy Spooner
Sept. 3, 2013

Tom Green and his wife, Ruth, have given $75,000 to create the Green Legal History Endowment Fund at the University of Michigan. The gift from the Greens, and any additional gifts to the endowment, will be used to develop and sustain interest in and scholarly contributions to legal history at U-M, and to provide direct support and mentorship to the next generation of legal historians. In addition, the Greens hope to foster closer relations between the Law School and the Department of History in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA), which will jointly administer the fund.

The Green Legal History Endowment Fund will be used to bring prominent legal historians from a wide range of specializations to the University of Michigan for lectures, proseminars, and meetings with students. A committee representing both Law and LSA faculty will select the speakers. The inaugural committee, which was appointed by Dean Mark West and Kathleen Canning, chair of the history department, is comprised of Professors Rachel Neis, Bill Novak, and Rebecca Scott. "It is always special when a faculty member chooses to lend significant financial support to the institution that already has claimed so much of his or her time and intellectual rigor," said former Dean Evan Caminker. "Tom and Ruth's gift will open up exciting new channels for discourse and collaboration at the University."

"Our gift is in grateful recognition of the support and encouragement extended to me, and the friendship extended to us both, over four decades by two truly great and collegial scholarly communities," said Green, who is the John P. Dawson Collegiate Professor of Law Emeritus and professor emeritus of history. "Establishing the endowment seems an appropriate step to take, as the activities of these communities—as with all scholarly communities—are as much a matter of building a foundation for those who will inherit and shape the future of the enterprise as they are a manifestation of present interests."

In conceptualizing the gift, Green was drawn to the community-building aspects that such a series of events will offer. "It is my hope that the lectures, proseminars, and other corresponding events will draw attention to legal history work being done on campus, help like-minded scholars find and connect with each other, and, especially, facilitate the establishment of mentoring relationships," he said.

The annual or biannual public lecture will be known as the Simpson Lecture in honor of A.W. Brian Simpson. The former Michigan Law professor, who died in 2011, was recognized around the world as one of the leading academic lawyers of his generation. "Brian was an enormously active and valuable member of this institution," Green said. "This pays some measure of tribute to the eminence of his scholarship and the importance of his role at Michigan."

The associated proseminar, intended for faculty and graduate students with special interest in legal history, will be named for John P. "Jack" Dawson, who taught at Michigan Law from 1927 to 1958. "He was my Contracts teacher, a friend of Ruth's and mine, and a very fine legal historian whose most important legal-historical work was completed, or mostly so, while he was at Michigan," Green said.

He added, "In naming the lecture after Brian and the proseminar after Jack, we honor two superb legal historians and common-law teachers who spent many years at the Law School and contributed greatly to its scholarly tradition."

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