Alumni paid a special tribute to Professor Robinson O. Everett LLM ’59, the recipient of the A. Kenneth Pye Award, in honor of his 50 years on the Duke Law School faculty.
“It is an understatement to say that Judge Everett has served this institution,” said Dean David F. Levi. “About 97 percent of all living alumni attended the Law School during the ‘Judge Everett era.’ When he began teaching at the Law School — at age 22 — he was the youngest person to serve on our faculty. Today, he is the oldest.” Levi commended Everett for his compassion toward students in the course of his long scholarly career, through which he has also served as a judge and chief judge of the United States Court of Military Appeals, and maintained a private law practice in Durham.
In a personal tribute, U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever III ’87 called Everett a teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend, reviewing their contacts and collaboration in the military justice system, private practice, and on the federal bench. Dever recalled Everett’s kindness to him as a student, warmth he realized extended to many in the Duke Law community when his professor brought him home, unannounced, for dinner. “He introduced me to his wife, Lynn, and said ‘I’ve brought Jim home for dinner.’ She calmly said, ‘We’ll just set another place at the table,’ and I realized that he had done this many times before.”
The Pye Award honors a member of the Duke Law community whose work in education reflects the life and ideals exemplified by former Dean A. Kenneth Pye, remembered for his personal integrity, vigorous intellect, and compassion towards students.
Presiding over his first reunion weekend, Levi joined Law Alumni Association President David Tarshes ’81 in presenting other alumni awards to Glenn E. Ketner Jr. ’63, Letty M. Tanchum ’73, and Jennifer L. Franklin ’98.
2008 Law Alumni Awards:
Letty M. Tanchum ’73 received the Charles S. Murphy Award, which honors a graduate whose dedication to education or public service reflects the ideals exemplified by Charles S. Murphy ’34. Formerly vice president and general counsel and how special counsel for Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, Inc., Tanchum is the vice president and general counsel of The Oprah Winfrey Foundations. Among other Foundation projects in the United States and abroad, she helped establish the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, which offers young women a top flight education as well as an escape from poverty, abuse, or dire family situations for many of its students.
An honorary life member of the Law School’s Board of Visitors and a devoted member of the community, Tanchum and her husband, Michael ’72, support and host an annual Duke Law Passover seder, “a small but immensely appreciated gesture reflecting a commitment to making the Duke Law experience one that goes far beyond that of academic and intellectual stimulation,” said Levi.
Glenn E. Ketner Jr. ’63 was honored with the Charles S. Rhyne Award, which is presented to a graduate whose career as a practicing attorney exemplifies the highest standards of professional ability and personal integrity, and who has made significant contributions to community service. A private practitioner in Salisbury, N.C., Ketner serves on the Law School Board of Visitors, the Duke Estate Planning Council, chaired his Law Reunion Committee, and has recently established a scholarship fund for law students. He has previously served on the Law Annual Fund Council, the Annual Fund Comprehensive Trinity Committee, and the Annual Fund Executive Committee for Duke University. President and director of the Ketner Family Foundation, Ketner is also a trustee of Catawba College, Rowan Cabarrus Community College, and the Rowan Regional Medical Center. He is a former board member of North Carolina Citizens for Business & Industry and a member of the local, state, and national bar associations.
“I often talk about leadership, and the ways in which lawyers serve as leaders, not just in the legal profession, but also in our communities, our nation, and our world,” said Levi. “In ways both large and small, Glenn embodies the ideals of leadership that I hope we all aspire to.”
Jennifer L. Franklin ’98 received the Young Alumna Award, given to an individual who graduated within the past 15 years, has distinguished him- or herself professionally, and has made significant contributions of leadership and service to Duke Law School. Counsel at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York, Franklin practices in the Exempt Organizations Department, focusing on corporate tax law, charitable economic development and gift-planning, and taxation relating to mergers and acquisitions. She serves the profession as a member and leader of several American Bar Association committees and the greater community by helping to educate nonprofit organizations on legal and taxation issues and through her leadership on the board of New York nonprofit that provides needy families with baby clothing and supplies.
Levi noted Franklin’s commitment to Duke Law School and the future of the profession demonstrated by her service to students, through mentoring. One recent graduate, he said, appreciated being able to call on “Jennifer’s care and wisdom” for advice of any kind. “Sometimes these are the very things that make all the difference to a student and the way he or she experiences law school.”