Monday, February 28, 2005

WRITER: Heidi Murphy, 706/542-5172, hmurphy@uga.edu
CONTACT: Rebecca H. White, 706/542-7140, rhwhite@uga.edu
Dan T. Coenen, 706/542-5301, coenen@uga.edu

UGA Law Professor Dan Coenen named University Professor

ATHENS, Ga. – Longtime University of Georgia School of Law Professor Dan T. Coenen has been awarded the title University Professor, which was approved by the Board of Regents earlier this month.

This honor is reserved for UGA faculty who have had a significant impact on the university in addition to fulfilling their normal academic responsibilities. This impact may be in the areas of policy development, teaching, curricular change, innovative programs or academic leadership. Additionally, it recognizes individuals whose actions as change-agents have improved the quality with which the university serves its missions.

“Dan Coenen is the consummate faculty member who richly deserves this recognition,” Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Arnett C. Mace Jr. said. “He serves with distinction in all functions of the University of Georgia. An outstanding teacher, nationally-recognized scholar, superb leader and contributor to a myriad of committees, Dan contributes to the university with distinction and integrity.”

Georgia Law Dean Rebecca H. White said she could think of no person who better fits the University Professor description in every sense than Coenen. “Dan has served with distinction on numerous committees charged with reviewing and strengthening initiatives at both the law school and the university. His exemplary teaching skills have been recognized multiple times, again not only at the law school but campus wide.”

“In my mind, what is most remarkable about Dan Coenen is that, despite serving in the demanding role of a full-time law professor, he has found the time to make a significant impact on the undergraduate student population at the university. Not once, but twice, he has been recognized by the Student Government Association for his dedication and commitment,” White added.

Coenen, who currently holds a J. Alton Hosch Professorship, joined the university’s law faculty in 1987 and teaches Constitutional Law, Contracts and Criminal Law. He said he was moved and humbled to receive the professorship, especially because UGA’s faculty runs deep with teachers who work tirelessly every day to help students and to better our society. “I am honored to be a member of this faculty and especially honored to be designated a University Professor at a university as extraordinary as ours,” he said.

Coenen received the Josiah Meigs Award, the university's highest honor for teaching excellence, in 1998. Law students have selected him on multiple occasions as the recipient of the Faculty Book Award for teaching excellence, the Professional Responsibility Award and the John C. O'Byrne Award for significant contributions furthering student/faculty relations. Additionally, Coenen has been chosen as an honorary graduation marshal seven times. In 2000, he was recognized by the undergraduate Student Government Association as an Outstanding Teacher for Having a Profound Effect on a Student Leader. And, last year, he received the SGA’s Outstanding Professor Recognition Award.

Often considered as a role model for other faculty, Coenen has served as a faculty mentor in UGA’s Lilly Teaching Fellows Program and as a senior teaching fellow in 1999-2000. He was inducted into the university's Teaching Academy in 2001 and was elected as a member of the organization's executive committee the following year. Since 2001, he has served as a senior faculty fellow in the Foundation Fellows Program.

Over the years, he has served on numerous law school committees including the Dean’s Advisory, Admissions and Faculty Recruitment committees as well as the UGA President’s Faculty Advisory Committee and the Faculty Awards Review Committee, a group empanelled by then-Provost Karen A. Holbrook to review the top faculty recognitions granted by UGA and on which he served as chair. Presently, Coenen is overseeing a thorough review of the upper-level curriculum at the law school and is chair of the 2005 Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship Selection Committee and serves as co-chair of the Program Review Committee for the Political Science Department.

A nationally-recognized constitutional law scholar, Coenen served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Harry A. Blackmun. His written scholarship on state-federal relations, Supreme Court decision making and the separation of powers has appeared in leading law reviews nationwide, including the prestigious Yale Law Journal, and is the subject of his first book, Constitutional Law: The Commerce Clause, published last year. Additionally, his work has been relied upon in numerous judicial decisions, including opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Coenen earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin and his law degree from Cornell University, where he served as editor in chief of the Cornell Law Review. After law school, he clerked for Chief Judge Clement F. Haynsworth Jr. of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals prior to joining the law firm Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson in Charlotte, N.C., where he later became a partner.

At the start of the 2005-06 academic year, Coenen’s new title will go into effect. He will retain the University Professor title until resignation or retirement. No more than one University Professor is appointed per year.

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Note to editors: A photo of Dan Coenen is available by calling Heidi Murphy at 706/542-5172.