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George Brown Named Inaugural Holder of Drinan Chair

robert f. drinan, s.j. endowed chair

10/18/06--Boston College Law School is pleased to announce that George Brown, an expert in the field of federal-state relations and government ethics, has been appointed inaugural holder of the school's new Robert F. Drinan, S.J. Endowed Chair.

Established through the efforts of the BC Law class of 1958, the new Chair honors one of the most influential and beloved figures at the law school, Former Dean and Congressman Father Robert F. Drinan.

"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 very lucky to have him"”

Brown said that he was honored to be named as the inaugural holder of the Drinan Chair.  “"Father 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 challenge."

Brown received his A.B. and J. D. degrees from Harvard University.  He 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.

In the field of government ethics, Professor Brown has 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.

The idea for the Chair began when class of 1958 member Doug MacMaster and a group of his classmates began to discuss a way that they could support the school's efforts to improve fundraising and scholarship.  As they approached their fundraising goals, naming a new Chair after Father Drinan seemed the perfect choice.

“"Father Drinan was very close to the class of 1958,"” MacMaster says.  “"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 to name an endowed professorship after?"

Robert Trevisani, another member of the class of 1958 and an instrumental part of the fundraising efforts, said that Drinan's distinguished career “"brings honor to the Class of 1958 and the Chair it has deemed to bear his name,"”noting that BC Law made significant progress in becoming a nationally recognized leader in legal education under Drinan's leadership.

"During the three years of law school, Father 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, Father Drinan presided at my wedding."”
At 35, Father Drinan was the youngest law school dean in the country when he took the job in 1956.  Widely credited with transforming the Law School into an elite national institution, Drinan recruited students tirelessly throughout the country using merit-based scholarships.  Under his lead the faculty grew from 12 to 23 members, and academic scores for admitted students such as LSAT and GPA increased every year.

Drinan served five terms in the US House of Representatives. He was the first Congressman to call for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon during the Watergate crisis.  But in 1980, the Vatican ruled that no priest could hold a legislative position and, though he disagreed with the directive, Drinan complied, leaving Congress in 1981. Since then, he has taught at Georgetown University Law Center, including courses in legal ethics and international human rights. He has also written eleven books, including Religious Freedom and World War: Can God and Caesar Coexist?

More information on Robert F. Drinan, S.J. Professor George Brown can be found at