[Adapted from The University Record, 10.12.15: Four to receive honorary degrees at Winter Commencement, as compiled by Jillian A. Bogater from material submitted by the Office of University and Development Events]
Martha Minow, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, University of Michigan alumna, author and human rights advocate, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and deliver the Winter Commencement address at 2 p.m. Dec. 20 at Crisler Center. (The degree is pending approval by the Board of Regents at its meeting Thursday, October 15, 2015.)
Minow, is an accomplished scholar, academic leader, and advocate for equity in education for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or physical ability.
She was born in Highland Park, Illinois, and grew up in Chicago and Washington, D.C. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (1975) with honors at U-M, a Master of Education degree (1976) from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Juris Doctor (1979) from Yale Law School.
Minow clerked for Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court before joining the Harvard Law School faculty in 1981. She has served as dean since 2009.
Early in her career she defined the concept of "difference" as something constructed in and through social relations, which has dramatic implications for education scholarship and practice. She identified assumptions about difference, illuminating how "difference" too often becomes "deficit" in educational settings.
Minow is the author of many scholarly articles in journals of law, history and philosophy. Her most recent book, "In Brown's Wake: Legacies of America's Education Landmark" (2010), clarifies how the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision has influenced education policy worldwide.
She also wrote "Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law" (1990), "Not Only for Myself: Identity, Politics, and Law" (1997), "Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence" (1998), and "Partners, Not Rivals: Privatization and the Public Good" (2002), and co-edited seven other books, two law casebooks and a reader.
A gifted teacher, she has taught courses in civil procedure, constitutional law, family law, international criminal justice, jurisprudence, and law and education, among others, and was recognized with Harvard's Sachs-Freund Teaching Award in 2005. She has delivered more than 70 lectures and keynote addresses and has taken on many roles beyond the academy.
Minow collaborated with the U.S. Department of Education and the Center for Applied Special Technology on legislative initiatives and a voluntary national standard to improve access to curricular materials for individuals with disabilities. She also served on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo and worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to promote peaceful development in post-conflict societies. She is vice chair of the Legal Services Corp., which provides civil legal assistance to low-income Americans, and serves on the MacArthur Foundation board.
Minow is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Bar Foundation, and American Philosophical Society. Among other accolades, she has received the Holocaust Center Award, Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse from The College Historical Society of Trinity College, Dublin, and seven honorary degrees.