Michael A. Olivas Award - Annual Meeting

Call for Nominations for the Inaugural Michael A. Olivas Award for Outstanding Leadership in Diversity and Mentoring in the Legal Academy

Dear AALS Section Members:

The AALS Executive Committee has established the Michael A. Olivas Award for Outstanding Leadership in Diversity and Mentoring in the Legal Academy. The Committee hopes to present the inaugural Michael A. Olivas Award at the AALS Annual Meeting in January 2023. Please consider submitting a nomination for a law school faculty member deserving of the award. Self-nominations will be accepted and considered as well.

Award Description

This new award will serve as a living memorial to Professor Michael A. Olivas, who died in April 2022 after an illustrious career in law, most recently as William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law Emeritus at the University of Houston, and the Director of the University of Houston’s Institute for Higher Education Law & Governance.

Professor Olivas was awarded the 2019 AALS Triennial Award for Lifetime Service to Legal Education and the Law. He was an elected member of the American Law Institute and the National Academy of Education. He served as General Counsel to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and chaired the AALS Sections on Education Law and Immigration Law, and countless committees. Professor Olivas served as President of the Association of American Law Schools, as a member of the AALS Executive Committee, and as Interim President of University of Houston-Downtown. He was a renowned scholar and teacher as well as an administrative leader and community servant.

What Professor Olivas is most remembered for, however, is for his legendary dedication to cultivating and mentoring minority and women faculty aspirants and junior faculty, for his outspoken and effective leadership in diversifying the legal academy and profession, and by giving voice to the voiceless and speaking truth to power all while achieving excellence in teaching and scholarship.

The Michael A. Olivas Award for Outstanding Leadership in Diversity and Mentoring in the Legal Academy will be awarded to the AALS faculty member who most vividly exemplifies Professor Olivas’s devotion to mentoring and diversity. The recipient will be a faculty member with an outstanding record of mentoring junior and aspiring faculty from underrepresented communities and otherwise promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity in the legal academy.

Requirements & Eligibility

  • Nomination deadline is Friday, September 23, 2022.
  • Nominees must be members of the faculty (including in administration) of an AALS-member law school.
  • Nomination letters (of no more than five pages) must be sent by email to AALS at sections@aals.org, with “Olivas Award Nomination” in subject line.
    • Nomination letters must address how the nominee carries on Professor Olivas’s legacy of extraordinary mentoring of minoritized and underrepresented junior and aspiring faculty colleagues, and impactful work towards diversifying the legal academy.
    • Nomination letters may be accompanied by no more than three letters of support, optimally in the same PDF with the main nomination letter. If need be, the additional support letters may be separately sent to AALS at sections@aals.org, (with “Olivas Award Support Letter” in subject line).

Selection Committee

The inaugural Michael A. Olivas Award Selection Committee will be comprised of Dean Anthony E. Varona (Seattle University School of Law), and the chairs of four of the AALS Sections with which Professor Olivas engaged extensively: Professor D. Carolina Núñez (Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School), Chair of Section of Immigration Law; Professor Marc-Tizoc González (University of New Mexico School of Law), Chair of Section on Civil Rights; Professor Emile Loza de Siles (University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law), Chair of the Section on Minority Groups; and Assistant Dean Maria Saez Tatman (University of Tennessee College of Law), Chair of the Section on Student Services.