University of Texas at Austin President Named to France’s Prestigious Order of the “Legion of Honor”

May 14, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas — William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, yesterday (May 14) was appointed to the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, the prestigious order created by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804, for his work in establishing the French Judicial Visiting Fellowship program at the university.

Pierre Grandjouan with President Powers
French Consul General Pierre Grandjouan speaks about President Powers before presenting him with the "Legion of Honor" medal.Photo: Marsha Miller

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 last Oct. 28.

"I am delighted," said French Consul General Pierre Grandjouan, "to present President William Powers with the award of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur to honor his valuable contribution to the development of a strong relationship between the prestigious University of Texas at Austin and the institutions and people of France. We cherish this true friendship and shared history. We hope to continue our fruitful exchanges."

Grandjouan, who heads the French consulate in Houston, formally designated the rank at a ceremony in Powers' office.

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.

'Legion of Honor' medal
President Powers' "Legion of Honor" medal.

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.

1 Comment to "University of Texas at Austin President Named to France’s Prestigious Order of the “Legion of Honor”"

1.  CRAYE Etienne said on June 2, 2009

Dear President Powers,

As director/president of Ecole Centrale de Lille, one of the French Grandes Ecoles in Engineering with which The University of Texas at Austin has had strong and ongoing relationships for the past 20 years (France-UT Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies), I would like to personally congratulate you for being appointed – on May 14, 2009 - to the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur on the proposal of President Nicolas Sarkozy. I am delighted to hear of your appointment as Knight of the Order of the Legion d’Honneur, as I and the EC Lille cherish the true friendship and shared academic and research collaborations which have been implemented and developed between our two institutions of higher education over the past years. Your personal and most valuable contribution to the creation of closer working links between the U.S. and France certainly encourages us at EC Lille to continue to develop our own existing links with the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin whose 126th spring commencement 2009 was last week attended by two EC Lille officials.

Very best wishes,
Professeur Etienne CRAYE
Directeur de l’ Ecole Centrale de Lille, France
Friday, May 29, 2009