Catherine Smith wins the 2016 Clyde Ferguson Award

December 01, 2015

Catherine Smith is the winner of the 2016 Clyde Ferguson Award, given by the American Association of Law Schools Minority Groups Section. The Ferguson Award recognizes an outstanding law teacher who has achieved excellence in the area of public service, teaching and scholarship. Named in honor of Professor C. Clyde Ferguson, Jr, the second tenured African American on the Harvard Law School faculty, the Award spotlights a law teacher who has provided support, encouragement and mentoring to colleagues, students, and aspiring legal educators.

Smith teaches torts, employment discrimination, and family law. Her research interests include civil rights law and critical race theory. In the last year, her work has been published in the U.C. Davis Law Review and the Ohio State Law Journal. In addition, an amicus brief on the constitutional rights of children of same-sex parents co-authored by Smith, Susannah Pollvogt (Washburn Law), Tanya Washington (Georgia State Law) and Lauren Fontana (Denver Law) was recently cited in the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which struck down same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional.

Since 2010, Smith has served as the Sturm College of Law’s Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness. The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness, which includes Randy Wagner, Administrative Director for Strategic Initiatives, focuses on developing and supporting existing programs designed to diversify the hallways of law schools. Denver Law initiatives include a partnership with the Denver Urban Debate League, an annual pipeline conference for college and high school students, and a role in a number of faculty development workshops nation-wide offered to diverse candidates seeking to enter law teaching.