When Robert A. Williams Jr. was recruited by President Emeritus Henry Koffler and then-provost Nills Hasselmo thirty years ago as a professor in the James E. Rogers College of Law, his task was to build an academic program in the College of Law that served the legal needs of Native Americans.
“Since that time, I've had the unwavering support of every president and provost of the University, — and every dean of the law college — in developing the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program into the world's leading academic program of its kind,” Williams said.
As director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, Williams provided native peoples with the space to learn their legal rights. Most recently, he developed a year-long course for the Bachelor of Arts in Law.
Williams is a distinguished law professor, having the title of the E. Thomas Sullivan professor in the College of Law. He is also the author of several publications.
On Friday, April 6, the Arizona Board of Regents named Williams a Regents professor, the highest distinction for tenured faculty in Arizona. For Williams this honor is more than just an honor for him.
“For me, any recognition I might receive, including this incredible honor of being named a Regents Professor, for the work I've done while I've been here is a reflection of the support, encouragement and commitment of the UA as an institution to serving Native peoples and communities in Arizona, the U.S. and around the world,” Williams said.
Marc Miller, the dean of the College of Law, expressed pride in Williams’ work for native peoples in a statement to The Daily Wildcat.
“A generation of students and now professors and leaders in Indian Law can trace their intellectual foundations to Professor Williams, and his work is echoing throughout Arizona, the United States and the world,” Miller said.
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