Oct. 19, 2006 • Volume 15 Number 4

George Brown

George Brown Named to Drinan Chair

Long-time Law School faculty member George Brown, an expert in the field of federal-state relations and government ethics who has taught at the school for more than three decades, is the inaugural holder of the school's new Robert F. Drinan, SJ, Endowed Chair, Law School Dean John H. Garvey has announced.

Established through the efforts of the BC Law class of 1958, the new chair honors one of the most influential and beloved figures at BC Law, former dean and congressman Rev. Robert F. Drinan, SJ.

"George Brown is a natural choice for this important position," said Garvey. "He has served the Law School with warmth and energy for 35 years, and is a world-renowned ethics scholar. We are fortunate to have him."

Brown said he was honored to be named as the inaugural holder of the Fr. Drinan Chair. "Fr. Drinan's exemplary career spans so many fields - public service, scholarship and academic leadership, for example - that it makes holding the chair named for him a special privilege and challenge."

Brown, who received his AB and JD degrees from Harvard University, has served as legislative assistant to the Governor of Massachusetts and as assistant attorney general of Massachusetts. In 1994, Governor William Weld appointed him chair of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission.

In the field of federal-state relations, Brown is best known for his articles on the jurisdiction of federal courts and on the federal grant-in-aid system. He has also served as chair of the Section on Federal Courts of the Association of American Law Schools.

Brown also is considered a leading authority on government ethics, having written several articles on current judicial developments. His proposal for the use of state law in mail fraud prosecutions was adopted by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in a major anti-corruption decision. His current research focuses on the role of the courts in the war on terror.

His most recent publications include "Counterrevolution? - National Criminal Law after Raich" in the Ohio State Law Journal, "Carte Blanche: Federal Prosecution of State and Local Officials After Sabri" in the Catholic University Law Review, and "New Federalism's Unanswered Question: Who Should Prosecute State and Local Officials for Political Corruption?" in the Washington and Lee Law Review.

Fr. Drinan was the youngest law school dean in the country when he took the job at age 35 in 1956. Widely credited with transforming the Law School into an elite national institution, he recruited students tirelessly throughout the country using merit-based scholarships. Under his leadership the faculty grew from 12 to 23 members, and academic scores for admitted students such as LSAT and GPA increased every year.

Fr. Drinan served five terms in the US House of Representatives, and was the first congressman to call for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon during the Watergate crisis. He left Congress in 1981, following Pope John Paul II's declaration that Catholic priests should not hold legislative positions.

Since then, Fr. Drinan has taught at Georgetown University Law Center, including courses in legal ethics and international human rights. He has also written eleven books, including Can God and Caesar Coexist?: Balancing Religious Freedom and International Law.

The idea for the Fr. Drinan Chair originated from a discussion between Doug MacMaster JD'58 and his classmates on how they could support the school's efforts to improve fundraising and scholarship. Naming a chair after Fr. Drinan seemed a most appropriate choice, said MacMaster.

"Fr. Drinan was very close to the class of 1958," he said. "He became dean during our second year, and he influenced me and so many others, both personally and professionally. And he was a major cornerstone, a building block of the Law School. What better person after which to name an endowed professorship?"

Fellow 1958 alumnus Robert Trevisani, who played a key role in the fundraising efforts, said that Fr. Drinan's distinguished career "brings honor to the Class of 1958 and the chair that bears his name," noting that BC Law made significant progress in becoming a nationally recognized leader in legal education under Fr. Drinan's leadership.

"Fr. Drinan was nothing less than an energetic, dynamic leader, giving constant support and encouragement to us as we suffered the rigors of a stiff curriculum," Trevisani said. "He made it a point to know his students and it was unusual for him not to attend our social functions. In fact, Fr. Drinan presided at my wedding."

More information on Robert F. Drinan, SJ, Professor George Brown can be found at on-line.

-Law School Communications Manager Nathaniel Kenyon

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