Monday, June 14, 1999

WRITER: Matt Haney, (706) 542-5172

CONTACT: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172, pharr@jd.lawsch.uga.edu


ATHENS, Ga. -- Three University of Georgia School of Law professors were presented with awards for teaching excellence by members of the 1999 graduating class during their commencement ceremony in May.

J. Alton Hosch Professor Dan Coenen received the Student Bar Association Faculty Book Award for Excellence in Teaching; Herman E. Talmadge Professor Ray Phillips received the Student Bar Association and Younger Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Georgia Award for the Teaching of Legal Ethics; and Ruth Henning Nagareda received the Phi Delta Phi John C. O'Byrne Memorial Faculty Award for Significant Contributions Furthering Student-Faculty Relations.

This marks the third time Coenen has received the Faculty Book Award. He won the Josiah Meigs Award in 1998, the highest University-wide honor bestowed for teaching excellence. Although Coenen regularly teaches Contracts and Constitutional Law, in recent years he has pioneered three new courses: Comparative Constitutional Law, Approaches to Lawyering, and a revised version of Judicial Process.

Coenen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin and earned his law degree magna cum laude from Cornell, where he was editor-in-chief of the Cornell Law Review. He became in 1987 the first former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk to join the UGA faculty.

"Dan Coenen continues to inspire his students to achieve the very best of which they are capable," said Paul Kurtz, associate dean of the law school. "He manages to combine rigor and warmth in his teaching. His former students sing his praises as a valuable asset in the law school's portfolio. He represents the outstanding teaching that takes place at the law school."

Phillips has been honored with the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Award for seven consecutive years. He teaches Banking Law, Bankruptcy, Corporate Reorganization, and Legal Ethics. Phillips has served as bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Georgia, as deputy director of the Commission on the Bankruptcy Laws of the United States, and as chair of the Consumer Bankruptcy Committee of the American Bar Association from 1986 to 1990. Phillips earned a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina and a law degree and master of laws degree from Emory University.

"Ray Phillips sets high standards both inside and outside the classroom," said Kurtz. "He not only teaches the rules of legal ethics through the traditional, Socratic method, but also serves as a role model of the professional committed to his work and to his students. A generation of Georgia attorneys have taken the lessons from Ray Phillips' courses into the practice of law."

Nagareda, the first adjunct professor to win one of the teaching awards, joined the law faculty in 1995 as a legal research and writing instructor. She became an adjunct professor last year and currently teaches upper level and advanced writing courses and Pretrial Litigation Drafting.

Nagareda earned both her bachelor's and law degrees from the University of North Carolina and was inducted into the Order of the Coif, the highest academic honor in legal education. She then spent nearly seven years as an associate with the law firm of Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C., specializing in environmental, corporate, and employment law.

"This award attests to the excellent relationships maintained by Ruth Nagareda with many of our students," said Kurtz. "She makes the extra effort to serve as mentor and advisor and can be counted on to provide advice. The law school experience can sometimes be a daunting one. People like Ruth help in dealing with the stress and coping with the demands of a professional education."