An emeritus professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law received an honorary doctor of law degree from the law faculty at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa.
The honorary degree celebrated Professor Charles Lawrence III’s work in critical race theory, and his legal work and life-long commitment to the pursuit of social justice.
School of Law Dean Avi Soifer said this international honor is richly deserved by Lawrence, who became the UH Mānoa Centennial Professor at the law school in 2007. In that role, he also taught at UH’s College of Education, the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and the Department of Political Science; he also led a campus-wide seminar for junior faculty members.
Soifer added, “Chuck Lawrence is a hugely important scholar and he has led the way about some of the most confounding issues we face, including antidiscrimination and education matters. Not only is he a world-famous scholar, he is also a brilliant teacher, and a truly inspiring public speaker.”
Lawrence has had a long-standing relationship with South Africa going back to 1995 when he and his wife, UH Law Professor Mari Matsuda, visited when he was asked to consult the newly-appointed members of the South Africa Supreme Court.
The Nelson Mandela University honorary degree is the most recent of the numerous honors Lawrence has received, including an honorary degree from Haverford College—where he was an undergraduate—and numerous teaching awards.
—By Beverly Creamer