William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, has been given the inaugural Austin Jurisprudence Award by the Austin Council of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Watch the tribute video for President Powers created by the Austin Council of ADL. (Video opens in a new window.)Photo: Bette Reichman/Public Eye Photography
The Jurisprudence Award will be given every two years to an outstanding legal professional who exhibits a commitment to equality, justice, fairness and community service.
The award was presented at a luncheon on March 11 at the ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center.
"President Powers' strong leadership to promote respect and inclusion, both at the University of Texas School of Law and across the entire Austin campus, is impressive and important for a university that reflects the diversity of this state and the richness that diversity brings," Jeff Newberg, chair of the Executive Committee for the Austin Council of the ADL, said. "We cannot think of a more appropriate recipient of our first Austin Jurisprudence Award."
Powers has been affiliated with The University of Texas at Austin for more than 30 years, serving as professor in the School of Law, then as dean of the School of Law from 2000 until his appointment as the 28th president of the university in February 2006.
As dean of the School of Law, Powers' emphasis on diversity led to the quadrupling of the number of African-American students and the doubling of the number of Hispanic students. Under his leadership, the school was recognized by Time magazine as the national leader among schools working to broaden their traditional applicant pool, and by Hispanic Business magazine for four consecutive years as the No. 1 law school in the nation for Hispanics.
Powers created in 2006 the university's Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, which strives to make the campus a more inclusive and welcoming environment for students, staff and faculty.