William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, has been appointed to the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, the most senior of France's Orders of Chivalry, for his work in establishing the French Judicial Visiting Fellowship program at the university.
The appointment as a Knight of the Order of the Légion d'honneur, on the proposal of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, was announced officially in France's Official Gazette on Oct. 28. The Order was created by Napoleon in 1804.
The fellowship program brings to The University of Texas at Austin two French junior judges who spend a year learning about the United States judicial system. The program covers most of the participants' tuition and living expenses.
Powers established the program in 2005 while dean of the Law School. It is supported by the Anderson Foundation of Houston on the initiative of Gib Gayle, partner in the law firm Fulbright and Jaworski and long-time supporter of the Law School.
"In my 40-year international legal career I have never come across an initiative that furthered more intellectual exchanges and the study and eventual use of foreign law," said Sir Basil Markesinis QC, holder of the Jamail Regents Chair in the university's Law School and administrator of the program. "At the same time it performs an immensely useful role in creating closer working links between the U.S. and an old and important ally."