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May 20, 2004

Press Contact: Allegra Young, UT Law, (512) 471-7330

Professor David Rabban Honored with First Massey Teaching Excellence Award

Award epitomizes "the School's priority of providing the highest quality of teaching to its students"

Photo of Professor David M. Rabban
David M. Rabban
photo credit: Wyatt McSpadden

AUSTIN, Texas — Today Dean Bill Powers announced that the first Massey Teaching Excellence Award would honor law Professor David M. Rabban, a member of the elite Academy of Distinguished Teachers. Rabban, who holds the Dahr Jamail, Randall Hage Jamail, and Robert Lee Jamail Centennial Chair in Law, is also a leading scholar of free speech in American history and labor law.

"I am thrilled to be the first recipient of the Massey Teaching Excellence Award and grateful to the Masseys for recognizing teaching through their generous endowment. It is a pleasure to teach at a law school whose faculty values teaching as well as scholarship and whose students stimulate and appreciate the efforts of their professors," said Professor Rabban.

"John and Libba Massey's teaching excellence award reinforces the strong Texas tradition of honoring and valuing the important work done in our our classrooms. David's a highly valued member of our faculty, both as a teacher and as a scholar, and an excellent first choice for the Massey award," said Bill Powers

This past fall The University of Texas School of Law announced the endowment of the Massey Teaching Excellence Award by John H. Massey, J.D. '66, and his wife, Elizabeth S. Massey, B.S. '61. The Law School is charged with presenting the award to a faculty member who "epitomizes the School's priority of providing the highest quality of teaching to its students." It will be given to Professor Rabban at Saturday's Sunflower Ceremony, 3:30 p.m.(May 22).

"We wanted to endow a teaching excellence award at the Law School as a way of recognizing the importance that great teaching had in our lives," John Massey said. "My wife and I both received superb educations at the University of Texas. I have used ideas and principles that I learned at the Law School every day of my life, even though I'm a businessman and have never been a practicing lawyer.

John and Elizabeth Massey met in their hometown of Columbus, Texas, where they attended the same kindergarten. Both have degrees from the University of Texas and SMU. John also received his M.B.A. from Cornell University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst, as well as a member of the State Bar of Texas. The Masseys now live in Dallas, where Mr. Massey has had a successful career as an investor and executive in the radio, television, and the insurance business. Elizabeth Massey has long been active as a community volunteer and currently serves as a trustee of Highland Park Independent School District. She also serves as a member of the UT Development Board and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Chancellor's Council for the UT system.

At the UT System, the Masseys have permanently endowed two full scholarships for future teachers and two additional awards for teaching excellence. One honors "those who teach people to be teachers," reflecting Elizabeth Massey's devotion to UT's College of Education, where she studied from 1957 to 1961. The second recognizes teaching excellence at UT's medical school in Galveston, from which John's grandfather, Dr. A. H. Potthast, graduated with an M.D. in 1915.

The University of Texas School of Law has long had one of the outstanding faculties in the nation, in terms of both scholarly distinction and success in the classroom. National surveys of law student satisfaction with teaching conducted by the Princeton Review have named Texas one of the top ten teaching faculties in the United States, even ranking Texas first for one year. Of the nation's top law schools, only Texas and the University of Chicago Law School enjoy such consistently high marks for teaching.

Related links:
Professor David Rabban:
Rabban elected to Academy of Distinguished Teachers: