Former law dean endows fund for faculty research

May 2, 2014 10:00 AM

Linda P. Campbell

As dean from 1978 to 1985, Paul Verkuil aggressively bolstered Tulane Law School’s national reputation by emphasizing its strengths in comparative and civil law while supporting its graduates on the national stage. Tulane had two U.S. Supreme Court clerks (William D’Zurilla and Gail Agrawal) during his tenure. 

John Giffen Weinmann, Paul Verkuil

Former Tulane Law School dean Paul Verkuil, right, a 2014 Hall of Fame honoree, shares a laugh with 2013 inductee John Giffen Weinmann (A&S ’50, L ’52) during the Hall of Fame luncheon at which he announced the Paul R. Verkuil Faculty Research Fund. (Photo by Digital Roux Photography)

Now, Verkuil has established the Paul R. Verkuil Faculty Research Fund, along with his wife, Judith Rodin, who is president of the Rockefeller Foundation and a former University of Pennsylvania president. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust also have contributed generously to the fund.

The goal is to provide additional research funding for “high-performing faculty members who present especially promising projects” and to send a resounding signal about the emphasis Tulane places on legal scholarship.

“Scholarly research is the lifeblood of any great law school, both because of its originality, which can affect legal practitioners and scholars alike, and its ability to stimulate the teaching role and enlighten the classroom,” Verkuil said.

He currently chairs the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency within the executive branch that’s dedicated to improving government performance.

In announcing the new endowment, Verkuil pointed to the critical value of work like that done by professor emeritus A. N. Yiannopoulos and the late professor Mitchell Franklin. Verkuil recruited Yiannopoulos, who has revised many parts of the Louisiana Civil Code, to Tulane in 1979. Franklin and Verkuil were among seven 2014 honorees added to Tulane Law School’s Hall of Fame on April 25. 

“I am so grateful to Paul and Judy for their generosity and vision in supporting faculty scholarship,” said Tulane Law School dean David Meyer. “There really couldn’t be a more fitting gift coming from Paul, who did so much to advance Tulane’s research mission during his years as dean.”

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