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Matheson Recognized for Teaching Excellence

John H. Matheson, the Law School's Melvin C. Steen and Corporate Donors Professor, has been selected to receive the 2007-2008 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education. He is the first Law School faculty member to receive the annual award, which goes to University faculty who uphold and advance the school's commitment to quality education.

Receipt of the award confers membership in the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and the title of "Distinguished University Teaching Professor."

"Professor Matheson exemplifies excellence in teaching and advising, while also nurturing the intellectual and professional development of his students and expansion of graduate programs in law," says Interim Dean Guy Charles. "For 25 years, Professor Matheson has approached the teaching profession with unmatched enthusiasm and dedication."

Professor Matheson is a five-time recipient of the Law School's Stanley Kinyon Outstanding Teaching and Counseling Award--more times than any other faculty member. "John first received it in 1985, after teaching only three years," says Ann M. Burkhart, Curtis Bradbury Kellar Professor of Law, who has known Professor Matheson since they both joined the faculty in 1982. "He most recently received it in 2007, which clearly demonstrates his continuing commitment to excellence in teaching."

Also in 2007, an article Professor Matheson co-authored with Faegre & Benson partners Philip S. Garon ('72) and Michael A. Stanchfield, "Challenging Delaware's Desirability as a Haven for Incorporation," won the prestigious Burton Award for effective legal writing.

Among Professor Matheson's contributions at the Law School are reorganization and revitalization of the Continuing Legal Education programs; facilitation of the inaugural China Summer Program as on-site program co-director and teacher; and development of the Kommerstad Center for Business Law and Entrepreneurship, Business Law Clinic, Multi-Profession Corporate Externship, and Emerging Business Legal Audit Program.

He has written numerous books and articles, several of them co-authored by students, research assistants, and alumni. Former student Brent A. Olson ('91), now a private practice lawyer, is among those co-authors and says Professor Matheson is known for his open-door policy with students and alumni. "John's very nature is to help students and advance their various scholarly and professional causes," Olson says.

Matheson is also Of Counsel at Kaplan, Strangis and Kaplan, Minneapolis, specializing in complex corporate transactions.

The Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education, first bestowed in the 1998-1999 school year, requires nomination of candidates by their college. A selection committee, appointed by the Senate Committee on Educational Policy and consisting of five faculty members, a graduate student, and an Alumni Association representative, evaluates nominees. Criteria are: instructing, advising and mentoring, developing instructional programs, and involving students in research, scholarship, and professional development.

The Alumni Association and the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost sponsor the Award. It is intended, in part, to contribute to educational excellence at the University by publicizing recipients' work, thereby serving as a resource for the entire faculty.

It is also intended to honor exceptional faculty members like Professor Matheson who, in the words of long-time colleague Professor Burkhart, "is responsible for producing literally thousands of well-trained and loyal alumni."