PROFESSOR FRANK S. ALEXANDER is
teaching the last property class of the year to his first-year
law students. He punctuates his lecture on public land use and
eminent domain with rapid-fire questions.
Hughes, describe the precedents . . .
the U.S. Supreme Court does what?
the reasoning of the courtJustice Scalias opinion.
a salient point is made, the quick typing into laptop computers
sounds like rain splattering a tin roof.
the class draws to a close, Alexander concludes: I do
not apologize to you for so much workyoure paying
a high hourly rate to be here. I dont apologize for pushing
youonly by being pushed do you become the kind of person
you may be down the road. . . . I hope I have sharpened your
mind, but not narrowed it. Unfortunately, however, you will
never again drive down the road and see a beautiful forest without
saying, Hmmm, I wonder about the easements.
class laughs appreciatively.
hope you will come to understand, Alexander adds, that
these are tools of service, not simply tools of acquisition.
commitment to both teaching and public service led the Student
Government Association and the Office of Residence Life to present
Alexander with the Laura Jones Hardman Award for Contributions
to the Community at the Crystal Apple Award ceremony in April.
class, students gather to eat lunch at the tables scattered
throughout Gambrell Halls ground floor, comparing notes
for the final.
Alexander is a mentor for many of us, says Neal S. Cohen,
who is working as Alexanders research assistant this summer
at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society investigating predatory mortgage
lending. He demands a lot of us, but students rise to
the challenge. And he supports law students who want to go into
serving the public interest.
Alexander, who earned a law degree and a masters in theological
studies from Harvard University concurrently, this blend of
vocation and community activism comes naturally. Depending
on your perspective of church ministry and your perspective
of law, to me they were very much subtle variations on the same
theme, he says, which is that theyre both
forms of public service.
member of the Emory faculty since 1982, Alexander came to the
University to help found its Law and Religion Program, where
he still serves as co-director. He has won a string of teaching
awards since, including the Ben F. Johnson Award, the Emory
Williams Award, the Black Law Student Association Award, and
the Student Bar Association Award.
more than a decade, Alexanders community work has focused
on affordable housing and urban redevelopment, and he has served
as a commissioner of the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless.
Graduate students who take Alexanders seminar on federal
housing policies and homelessness can work with him in a clinical
program with hands-on experience, whether monitoring state legislation
or helping residents of a public housing development in Atlanta.
are incredible opportunities for this university . . . to go
back into the community and be a full member, Alexander
says, not simply an isolated institution in a relatively
Toole, executive director of Community Friendship, Inc., says
Alexander has been an invaluable ally for their non-profit psychiatric
rehabilitation program in Atlanta for almost twenty years.
have a social work background, and I get into situations where
I need a legal perspective, Toole says. So Ill
call Frank with pen and paper in hand. He always has lots of
food for thought, options, and opinions. Hes one of the
smartest people Ive ever met and also one of the kindest.
honored at the Crystal Apple Award dinner were Carrie Rosefsky
Wickham of the Department of Political Science, who received
the William H. Fox Award for Emerging Excellence in Teaching
and Service. Wickham, whose husband and four-year-old daughter
clapped proudly as she accepted the award, thanked them for
excusing the frozen dinners and piles of laundry that
accompany her intense work schedule.
teaching award recipients were James W. Flannery, founder
of Theater Emory, who received the creative and performing arts
award; Amanda Starnes, of the Department of Biology,
who received the lecture award; and Irwin T. Hyatt Jr.,
of the Department of History, who received the seminar award.
teaching awards went to Annabel Martin of the Department
of Spanish and Portuguese and Dalia Judovitz of the Department
of French and Italian. Professional teaching awards went to
Cyril Spann of the School of Medicine, Department of
Gynecology and Obstetrics, and Marian Dolan, choral conductor
and assistant professor in the Candler School of Theology.M.J.L.