Dick Howard, Gordon Stewart receive coveted Jefferson Awards

Highest honor at UVa bestowed for excellence in service, scholarship

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Law School Prof. A.E. Dick Howard and Gordon Stewart, interim associate dean for undergraduate academic programs, received Thomas Jefferson Awards at Friday’s Fall Convocation.

The prestigious award is granted to two recipients each year, one based on scholarship and one based on service — Howard received the former, and Stewart the latter.

Photo: Marshall Bronfin

Born in Richmond, Howard graduated from the University of Richmond and completed a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University. Howard earned his law degree from the University Law School. He has been a professor at the University for 50 years, and is currently the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University.

“My life has been intertwined with this University in so many ways,” Howard said. “Like so many people here, I find Thomas Jefferson to be one of my role models, so to receive an award called the Thomas Jefferson award carries special meaning to me.”

Howard has studied and written extensively on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Virginia constitution and comparative constitutionalism. He was the executive director of the commission that drafted the present Virginia constitution, and has worked with drafters of constitutions in other countries.

“At the center of my academic and professional life lies teaching,” Howard said. “What I really care in particular about are my students. I am never happier than when I’m in the classroom or working with students.”

Stewart began his career at the University in 1970 in the German Department. In recent years, he has focused his scholarship in Germany, not only teaching at the University of Tübingen and the Free University in Berlin, but also completing a January Term course with students in Berlin.

“Mr. Stewart has left a lasting mark on the fabric of the University through his four decades of service as a teacher, mentor, adviser and friend to countless numbers of students and colleagues alike,” University President Teresa Sullivan said in a press release about the awards.

The Thomas Jefferson award has been sponsored by the McConnell Foundation since 1955 as a means to recognize “excellence in service to the University,” according to the Fall Convocation website. Those awarded receive a citation and a monetary prize.

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