Margaret Marshall to Receive Radcliffe Institute Medal
January 27, 2012
Cambridge, Mass.—The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study announced today that Margaret H. Marshall EdM ’69 will be awarded the 2012 Radcliffe Institute Medal.
Each year during Harvard Commencement week, the Radcliffe Institute honors an individual whose life and work have substantially and positively influenced society. Hundreds of alumnae/i, fellows, and friends celebrate the Radcliffe Institute’s commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and to the people who advance new ideas to improve our world. The day begins with a morning panel discussion and concludes with the annual Radcliffe Day luncheon and a formal address delivered by the Radcliffe Medalist.
This year, the Radcliffe Institute medal recipient and luncheon speaker is Margaret H. Marshall, who has been a force for justice and equality throughout her life, beginning with her early years in South Africa and continuing throughout her service as the 24th chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Her decisions—including the historic case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts—illustrate the power of law to improve society, further equality, and affect legal policy beyond a local jurisdiction.
The morning panel, “From Front Lines to High Courts: The Law and Social Change,” will explore the possibilities and limits of the law in making social change. Later, under the tent in Radcliffe Yard, the annual Radcliffe Day luncheon will honor Chief Justice Marshall’s career and accomplishments.
Today, as senior counsel at Choate Hall & Stewart LLP and senior research fellow and lecturer at Harvard Law School, Marshall continues to set an example for how the law can make a difference in the lives of individuals, organizations, and society more broadly.
“We look forward to honoring Margaret Marshall as a true pioneer in her field—as the first woman to serve as Massachusetts chief justice and as the first justice in the country to make the landmark decision to legalize gay marriage. She has dedicated her life to advancing social justice and to using the law to improve the lives of citizens,” said Interim Dean Lizabeth Cohen.
The morning panel on Radcliffe Day 2012 will be moderated by Harvard Law School Dean and Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor Martha L. Minow EdM ’76. It will feature four prominent women who, as legal scholars and committed practitioners, grapple with what the law can and cannot achieve in effecting social change:
- As a scholar and activist of labor and immigration law, practice, and reform, Jennifer Gordon ’87, JD ’92 is dedicated to changing how the law and our society recognize vulnerable workers. She is a professor of law at Fordham University School of Law, where she focuses on immigration law, labor law, public interest law, and law and the economy.
- Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Linda Greenhouse ’68 was a longtime Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times whose work and writing draw on legal history to explore questions of law and inequality. She is a senior research scholar in law, Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law, and Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at Yale Law School. She continues to write a biweekly column on law for the New York Times.
- As a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School, Renée M. Landers ’77 focuses on health law, constitutional law, and administrative law. Landers was the first woman of color and the first law professor to serve as president of the Boston Bar Association and has championed social justice by examining civil rights and equal access to education through judicial involvement.
- Moderator Martha Minow is an expert in human rights with a focus on members of racial and religious minorities, and women, children, and persons with disabilities. Her scholarship also has addressed private military contractors, management of mass torts, transitional justice, and law, culture, and social change.
- Panelist Kathleen M. Sullivan JD ’81—a Partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP and Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and Former Dean at Stanford Law School—will examine the constitutionality of same-sex marriage through the lens of a constitutional scholar and experienced litigator. She was the first woman dean of any school at Stanford and is the author of the nation’s leading casebook in constitutional law.
Read more information about the Radcliffe Day panelists.
Radcliffe Day—which celebrates achievement, excellence, and innovation—upholds the values that defined Radcliffe College and highlights the Institute’s commitment to providing a rich intellectual environment that encourages and rewards the work of original thinkers and doers from around the world.
About the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The Fellowship Program annually supports the work of 50 leading artists and scholars. Academic Ventures fosters collaborative research projects and sponsors lectures and conferences that engage scholars with the public. The Schlesinger Library documents the lives of American women of the past and present for the future, furthering the Institute’s commitment to women, gender, and society. Learn more about the people and programs of the Radcliffe Institute at www.radcliffe.edu.