Washington, D.C. (December 3, 2018) – The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is honoring Professor Michael A. Olivas, University of Houston Law Center (UHLC), with the 2018 AALS Triennial Award for Lifetime Service to Legal Education and to the Legal Profession.
Spanning nearly 40 years Professor Olivas’ career has been defined by his numerous contributions to teaching, scholarship, and leadership. Professor Olivas started his career at the University of Houston in 1982, with a joint appointment in law and as chair of the University of Houston’s graduate program in higher education. He is currently the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law and Director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston Law Center.
“Being a law faculty member at UHLC all these years has been an honor and has enabled me to serve this institution I love, and to which I have dedicated my career,” Olivas said in a press release from UHLC. “We all live to serve our students, and to advance scholarship in our fields, and I have never looked back. There is so much work to do, and so many legal needs. This opportunity for service has always animated and inspired me.”
Professor Olivas has made many scholarly contributions to the legal profession, particularly in the areas of immigration law and law of higher education. He has contributed nearly 80 articles to various scholarly outlets. He has authored or edited, dozens of book chapters and made several contributions scholarly journal editorial boards. Olivas has been an active volunteer with AALS, having chaired the Section on Education Law three times and the Section on Immigration Law twice. In 2005, he was elected to the AALS Executive Committee for a three-year term and served as President of AALS in 2011.
Professor Olivas is recognized his for scholarship in both immigration and education as well as for advocacy in Hispanic communities, including: the 1992 Clyde Ferguson Award from the AALS Section on Minority Groups; the Social Justice in Education Award and the Howard Bowen Distinguished Career Award from the American Educational Research Association; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Bar Association Houston; Outstanding Professor of the Year award from the Hispanic National Bar Association; and a Faculty Distinction Award from the University of Houston Law Alumni Association—among others.
In nominating Professor Olivas for the award, colleagues have praised his commitment to his students and public service. “Michael Olivas richly deserves this honor,” Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, stated. “He has done so much to improve legal education, whether formally with his service as AALS President or informally in his efforts to enhance diversity in the legal academy.”
Professor Olivas will be the fifth AALS Triennial Award recipient. Previous recipients were:
Professor of Law and Counselor to the President, Vice Dean Norman Dorsen of New York University (2006); Judge, Professor, and former Dean Guido Calabresi of Yale Law School (2009); Professor Derrick Bell of New York University School of Law (2012); and Professor and former Dean Herma Hill Kay of University of California, Berkeley School of Law (2015). The award will be presented during the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting, January 2-6 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Association of American Law Schools (AALS), founded in 1900, is a nonprofit association of 179 law schools. Its members enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers. The mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve its many communities–local, national and international.