Dean’s View – Summer 2022

headshot of Dean Tokaji
UW Law School Dean Daniel Tokaji

Dear Friends,

By the time you read this, I’ll have been dean of this great Law School for just over two years. Although we’ve faced more than our share of challenges, the past year was an absolute joy, because we were able to return to in-person teaching and learning.

It’s been wonderful to have our faculty colleagues together again and to teach our students in person. I had the privilege of being back in the classroom myself in the spring 2022 semester and enjoyed every minute with them. We have great students, who bring their intelligence, energy, and idealism to everything they do.

Our community has emerged from this difficult period stronger than ever, as you’ll see in reading this edition of the Gargoyle. For the first time since 2019, the Law School hosted an in-person Hooding Ceremony for the Class of 2022. What a treat it was to celebrate our graduates and their accomplishments, surrounded by their friends and loved ones. Thanks go to everyone who celebrated with us in person, virtually, and through the use of #UWLawGrad on social media. You can relive all the joy of that day on our In Focus: UW Law Celebrates Spring 2022 Graduates or watch the ceremony on our YouTube channel.

We were also incredibly fortunate to host Grenadian Diplomat Dessima Williams, a climate change and human rights expert, who was the inaugural University of  Wisconsin–Madison Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Human Rights. You can learn more about her visit to UW Law School on in UW Law Students Learn From Diplomat Dessima Williams article.

Since our last issue, we’ve continued our commitment to growing our faculty, with a goal of adding five more tenure-track faculty members by 2026. We are thrilled to welcome Emily Cauble and Nyamagaga “Gaga” Gondwe to the Law School. With Professors Cauble and Gondwe joining Susannah Tahk on our tax law faculty, our strength in this area has tripled. Their hiring reinforces our commitment to world-class scholarship, while ensuring our students will learn from leading experts in their fields.

Also joining our faculty is Bernadette Atuahene, our inaugural James E. Jones Chair in Law. The James E. Jones Chair is UW–Madison’s first fully funded chair named for an African American faculty member. The endowed faculty chair honors the late Professor James E. Jones Jr. ’56, a trailblazing labor lawyer, civil rights activist, prolific scholar, and committed professor. In 1969, he became the Law School’s first African American faculty member and, in 1973, founded our William H. Hastie Fellowship. Professor Jones was a towering figure at the Law School, whose career was devoted to making the promise of equal justice under law a reality. We are honored to keep his memory and legacy alive through the Jones Chair, and grateful to his former students and others whose generosity made this possible. Professor Atuahene’s visionary research, teaching, and service make her the ideal person for this role.

Professors Cauble, Gondwe, and Atuahene are just a few of the great new scholars and teachers joining UW Law. You can learn more about all the wonderful new faculty joining our community in Outstanding Scholars. We’re more than thrilled to have them as part of the family.

In this edition, you’ll also see highlights of some of our other outstanding faculty, like Steph Tai, who, in Protecting Culinary Heritage from Climate Change, discusses the effects of climate change on culturally significant foods and drinks around the world, as well as the existing legal protections
for them. You’ll also note Professor Tai, who is a wonderful chef, provided us with a delicious-looking, climate-conscious recipe to try. I encourage you all to make their recipe and share it with us on social media. I can’t wait to try it myself.

And we didn’t forget our students! Take Jacob Gardner, for example. He recently published his debut novel, North of Highway 8. The book explores the plight of rural America, our inherent connection with nature, and the importance of tolerance, friendship, and ethics. UW Law staff sat down with Jacob to learn more about his writing career, the influences of UW Law on his work, writing a novel during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more. Check it out in Jacob Gardner Publishes Debut Novel.

What we do here at UW Law matters. Our faculty and students are changing minds, having the hard conversations, and preparing to make a difference in the world. None of this would be possible without your support.

As always, thank you for your continued support of the Law School. Because of you, we can continue to inspire and educate the next generation of leaders. We are eternally grateful.

On, Wisconsin!

Daniel P. Tokaji
Fred W. & Vi Miller Dean and Professor of Law