2007 Archive

Professor Kay Honored for Lifetime Commitment to Berkeley

The UC Berkeley Academic Senate announced Boalt Professor Herma Hill Kay as a 2007 Berkeley Faculty Service Award (BFSA) winner.

The BFSA is an honor that recognizes faculty members with outstanding records of service to UC Berkeley. In its citation, the award committee notes that Kay "exemplifies the ideal of shared governance" and recognizes her long-standing commitment to the interests and well-being of faculty, staff, and students at Berkeley. The award will be conferred at a reception in August.

"I am deeply honored by the award," Kay says. "The Berkeley faculty enjoys the rare privilege of contributing to the vitality of the campus through its tradition of shared governance. I have relished the opportunity to be a part of that tradition."

Professor Kay has long been an inspiring figure at the law school, both for her commitment to service and for championing the cause of women and minorities in the field of law. She is a family law and anti-discrimination expert and co-author of California's influential no-fault divorce act. In 1992 she became the first woman to serve as dean of Boalt Hall. She returned to teaching in 2000 and was honored by the Boalt Hall Women's Association, which created the Herma Hill Kay Fellowship, a fund that supports legal work on behalf of women.

"Herma is a blazing star in the firmament of legal academia—as a scholar, in her service to the profession and society, and as a truly great dean," Dean Christopher Edley says. "And lately, her quiet service, in teaching me the ways of Berkeley and Boalt, has been invaluable. It is wonderful for the campus community as a whole to pay her this richly deserved tribute."

Beyond her 46 years of service to the law school, Kay also contributes to the governance of the Berkeley campus. In 1973, she became the first woman chair of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate. She has also led four different Berkeley senate committees as well as the systemwide UC Committee on Academic Freedom. She also participated in two Berkeley chancellor searches, helping to recruit Chang-Lin Tien and Robert Birgeneau.

Herma Hill Kay has also been recognized with these honors:

• UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award (1962)
• National Women's Political Caucus placed her among the 10 most qualified women for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court (1971)
• American Bar Foundation Research Award (1990)
• Margaret Brent Award to Women Lawyers of Distinction from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession (1992)
• Named one of the 50 most influential female lawyers in the country by the National Law Journal (1998)
• Boalt Hall Alumni Association Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award (2003)
• Boalt Hall's Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction (2005)