Austin Sarat, March 29, 2009

Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science

Austin Sarat Awarded Stan Wheeler Prize

Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and expert on law, has been awarded the Stan Wheeler Prize by the Law & Society Association. The prize is awarded for distinguished work as a teacher and mentor of undergraduate, graduate, and/or professional students.

The prize is named for Yale Law School Professor Stanton Wheeler, who died in 2007 and was known for his leadership in the integration of law and social science, teaching at both Yale Law School and in the sociology department at Yale University. Professor Sarat is the inaugural recipient of the prize. “Stan was quite renowned for reaching out to people who were not his own students and nurturing their careers,” Sarat said. “In fact, he was one of my mentors, so this award means so much to me. I’m thrilled and flattered to be recognized for carrying on his tradition of teaching and mentoring.”

Former students, colleagues and others who Sarat has worked with over the years in one form or another sent letters to the Association nominating Sarat for the prize.

The letters included the following testimonials:

“Austin has never had a formal obligation to me. I was not his student, research assistant or assigned to him by any mentoring program. He mentored me because this is what he does. I have no doubt that my career would be significantly changed for the worse but for his mentorship,”

“Perhaps the most moving aspect of Professor Sarat’s generosity is that I know I am one of many, many young academics who have benefited from his mentoring. Professor Sarat is always concerned first and foremost with helping young scholars, regardless of where they received their degrees or where they teach, to reach their fullest potential. In sum, he is an inspiring academic.”

“During my four years at Amherst, Austin was always a dedicated, wonderful mentor, as well as an astounding teacher. He understood what each of his students needed, and he tailored his mentoring to each of us…Now that I’m teaching, of course, I’ve had to think carefully about how to emulate the strengths of my greatest teachers and mentors. I have had many wonderful professors, but Austin remains my model, both in and out of class.”

The prize will be presented at the LSA meeting in May.