University of Texas at Austin President Receives France’s Oldest Rank of Chivalry

Dec. 15, 2008

PARIS — William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, has been appointed to the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, the most senior of France's Orders of Chivalry, for his work in establishing the French Judicial Visiting Fellowship program at the university.

The appointment as a Knight of the Order of the Légion d'honneur, on the proposal of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, was announced officially in France's Official Gazette on Oct. 28. The Order was created by Napoleon in 1804.

The fellowship program brings to The University of Texas at Austin two French junior judges who spend a year learning about the United States judicial system. The program covers most of the participants' tuition and living expenses.

Powers established the program in 2005 while dean of the Law School. It is supported by the Anderson Foundation of Houston on the initiative of Gib Gayle, partner in the law firm Fulbright and Jaworski and long-time supporter of the Law School.

"In my 40-year international legal career I have never come across an initiative that furthered more intellectual exchanges and the study and eventual use of foreign law," said Sir Basil Markesinis QC, holder of the Jamail Regents Chair in the university's Law School and administrator of the program. "At the same time it performs an immensely useful role in creating closer working links between the U.S. and an old and important ally."

For more information, contact: Don Hale, 512-471-3151.

3 Comments to "University of Texas at Austin President Receives France’s Oldest Rank of Chivalry"

1.  Suneil Sood said on Dec. 19, 2008

As an alumnus and an employee of The University of Texas at Austin, I’m proud that our President has joined the ranks of those upon whom Europe has bestowed knighthood. He will forever be in the company of such luminaries as Churchill and Rushdie.

2.  Daniel Vickers said on Dec. 20, 2008

As an American, the quote, "In my 40-year international legal career I have never come across an initiative that furthered more intellectual exchanges and the study and eventual use of foreign law," is quite chilling to me, in particular that 'eventual use of foreign law' part.

We need to look inwardly on how we have drifted away from what our forefathers created and not to anyone else.

Unless they can help us refrain from legislating from the bench, etc., we should resist this type of direction.

Dan Vickers, AIA
UT B. Arch 1991

3.  Charles Gentry said on Feb. 12, 2009

As an alumnus and former employee, I am heartened by this noteworthy international recognition and the university’s efforts to continue to reach out and reinforce our academic connections worldwide.

It seems today more than ever we have a need to understand the world community within our most basic connections, such as law. President Powers and the School of Law are to be commended on this accomplishment for our institution and for our academic community. These continuing efforts to not only support but also to build ongoing inclusiveness and transparency in the world community strengthen our culture and values, a foundational asset of a university.