AUSTIN, Texas — Today the Student Bar Association of The University of Texas School of Law announced that Professor Robert O. Dawson is the recipient of their 2005 Outstanding Faculty Member Award. This award, bestowed annually as part of W. Page Keeton Law Week, recognizes outstanding dedication to the students and student life.
“Professor Dawson always set himself apart among an altogether superb teaching faculty” said Jeffrey Snyder, the Student Bar Association President. “He was both an incredible teacher who loved every moment in the classroom and a mentor committed to the professional and personal development of his students.”
Dawson passed away on Saturday after a long battle with lung cancer and taught his criminal law class until just ten days before his death. “Dawson’s students were truly awestruck and inspired by his dedication to the classroom in the last days of his life and we wanted to underscore and recognize his efforts,” Snyder added.
Dawson would not have had it any other way. “The only time I don’t have cancer,” he said recently, “is when I’m in the classroom. I know the adrenalin kicks in and I feel so happy. I don’t feel the cancer.”
Professor Dawson was informed shortly before his death that he was selected for the award and was reported to have been delighted by the news.
In addition to his distinguished career in the classroom, he served as the director of the Criminal Defense Clinic which he co-founded from 1974 through 1998. He and his co-supervisors worked with more than 1,200 students on criminal defendants’ cases. Those students handled more than 7,200 cases.
He also served as co-director of UT Law's new Actual Innocence Clinic along with clinical law professor William P. Allison and attorney David A. Sheppard. The new clinic teaches students how to screen and investigate claims from prison inmates that they are actually innocent of the offense for which they were convicted. This month, the Texas Law Fellowships named Dawson, along with his co-instructors and students, a recipient of the 2005 Public Interest Award for the important and groundbreaking work done by the Clinic.
The Student Bar Association also presented 2005 Law Week awards to Linda Alba in the Financial Aid Office for Outstanding Administrator and Elisa Vega, the Administrative Assistant in the Immigration Law Clinic for Outstanding Staff Member.
Law School Statement and Photo Gallery for Robert Dawson: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2005/022605_dawson.html