2015 Professor of the Year: Dean’s Remarks

February 26, 2016 — At Pepperdine School of Law’s 43rd Annual Law Dinner, Dean Deanell R. Tacha honored three faculty members whom students had voted “Professor of the Year.” This year’s student voting saw twelve different professors receive the first dozen votes. In announcing the awards to the audience, Dean Tacha made the following remarks.

Dean Tacha’s Remarks

Each day I have the privilege of working in a vibrant community of academics, advocates, and high achievers. Pepperdine law has one of the greatest concentrations of bright minds and compassionate hearts to grace a legal community anywhere. For the twelfth consecutive year, Pepperdine law students were invited to submit nominations for Professor of the Year. From among our stellar faculty, three educators were selected for this academic year. We honor them tonight for embodying the values of our school and modeling the qualities of integrity, commitment, and scholarship that we seek to instill in our students.

1L Professor of the Year

First up, a few remarks describing the nominee of the first-year class:

“His teaching style is amazing. He can teach the subject matter while never losing focus on also teaching the difference between being a law student, preparing for the bar exam, and actually practicing law.”

“…love his way of teaching, very structured! And besides that, he makes class funny and enjoyable!

“…shows that he cares about each and every one of his students. He wished us all luck on all of our exams by emailing us before each one.”

“He made a subject that is very intimidating, especially in your first semester, into something I feel like I could conquer.”

“He’s an amazing professor and, even more than that, an amazing asset to the Pepperdine community.”

Congratulations to our 1L Professor of the Year: Professor Donald E. Childress III.

2L/3L Professor of the Year

Next, our 2L/3L Professor of the Year. The recommendations were so competitive this year that two very worthy candidates were selected. Here a few comments about the first:

“In a school full of wonderful, caring professors, [this professor] stands among the best.”

“There are many brilliant professors at Pepperdine law, but [this professor’s] care, compassion, and demeanor truly is one of a kind.”

“Even though he says the same jokes, I laugh every time. He is joyful and spreads love to all his students.”

And perhaps most telling:

“If every professor were like him, law school would not be so dreadful!”

Please congratulate our first 2L/3L Professor the Year: Professor Robert Popovich.

Our second 2L/3L recipient is equally celebrated. Consider these comments:

“I feel fortunate to have met [this professor] and hold him considerably responsible for ‘putting wind back into my sail’ during a busy 2L year.”

There is no question in my mind that [this professor] is the best I’ve ever had. I do not say that to pander or hyperbolize; it is a fact. Not only is his passion for teaching (and learning) infectious, but his sincere dedication to his students…makes for a truly supportive learning environment.”

“Simply stated, he is an extraordinary professor. Without exception, every student I’ve spoken to has said something to that effect about him.”

And maybe my favorite:

“While speaking with one of the visiting students during the London semester, I had expressed how [this professor] had been considered one of the best professors at Pepperdine for multiple years. He cut me off and stated, ‘Not just at Pepperdine, but in the world.’”

If you haven’t guessed his name, please give a big round of applause for our second 2L/3L Professor of the Year, Professor Steven M. Schultz.

 

The 43rd Annual Law Dinner was attended by several hundred alumni, students, and friends and held at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey, California. The keynote speakers were a panel of top appellate judges from the United Kingdom and United States. 

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