BY RECORD STAFF
When President Barack Obama ’91 was at Harvard Law School, Professor Laurence Tribe ’66 was his mentor. Declaring him his best student (a term he only ever also used to describe former Stanford Law Dean Kathleen Sullivan ’81), Tribe was one of the closest, if not the closest professor to the budding Barack. Now, Obama is in the White House, and Tribe remains in his office at HLS, where he has been holding court for over forty years.
Though he may not have been summoned, like many of his colleagues, to Washington, Tribe earned two major rewards for his long life’s work over the past two weeks. On January 28, a major gift to the law school was announced in Tribe’s name. The gift of $10 million, one of the largest the school has ever received, will be used to establish a new chair – the Laurence H. Tribe Professorship of Constitutional Law – and fund a number of scholarly activities at the school. The chair will be provisionally known as the Thurgood Marshall Professorship until Tribe retires. Beyond the chair, the gift will fund summer research for faculty members, student research, visiting professorships, conferences, and fellowships.
Professor Tribe was also named the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Scholar Award by the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. He will receive the award at a reception in Boston on February 14. “Laurence Tribe is one of the great constitutional scholars of our time,” said American Bar Foundation Director Robert L. Nelson. “His work has influenced the thinking of generations of law students, legal scholars and the courts. Professor Tribe has applied his considerable analytic talents through constitution writing and appellate advocacy.