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Emotional Ceremony Dedicates New Law School Professorship

Publication Date: 
October 29, 2009
Stanford Report
Kate Chesley

Professor Deborah Sivas, director of the Environmental Law Clinic, was honored at a ceremony where she was named the inaugural Luke W. Cole Professor in Environmental Law:

In a Reunion Homecoming ceremony filled with emotion, friends and family dedicated a new Law School professorship to the late Luke Cole, a noted environmental activist who died in a car accident in Uganda this summer at age 46.

Deborah Sivas has been appointed to the chair, which is called the Luke W. Cole Professorship in Environmental Law and Directorship of the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic. Since 1997, Sivas has directed Stanford's Environmental Law Clinic, which gives students a chance to provide legal counsel on environmental issues to nonprofit organizations.

"Being named the first holder of the Luke Cole chair is especially meaningful for me," said Sivas. "Luke was a contemporary and a colleague whose advocacy on behalf of underserved communities was truly pathbreaking and whose vision of environmental and social justice continues to be so inspiring to all of us who knew him."

"I think Luke would be pleased to know that a gift in his memory will help train and prepare a new generation of lawyers to carry the flame of environmental justice that he lit and kept burning for so many years," Sivas added.


Larry Kramer, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean, said, "Luke Cole was a pioneering figure in the movement for environmental justice. We feel a keen sense of responsibility, as well as honor, in accepting a chair in his name. Fortunately, there is no better person than Deborah Sivas to live up to the high standard Luke set, and her work will contribute greatly to advancing environmental safety and training generations of lawyers capable of carrying what they learn here into the world outside the university."