Gary E. Marchant, Lincoln
Professor of Emerging
Technologies, Law & Ethics
Professor Gary Marchant of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law will receive the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Class of 2007 at commencement on Friday, May 11.
Marchant will receive the award, which was voted on by graduating law students, during the convocation program which begins at 3 p.m. at Gammage Auditorium.
Marchant is the College's Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics and the executive director of the Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology, and he also is a professor in the ASU School of Life Sciences. He teaches and researches in the areas of environmental law, risk assessment and risk management, genetics and the law, biotechnology law, food and drug law, legal aspects of nanotechnology and law, science and technology.
As a student, Marchant earned plenty of awards - he was ranked first in his class of 540 students and received the Fay Diploma at Harvard Law School, where he earned a J.D. in 1990. He also received the Sears Prize, which was awarded to the top two students in his first-year-class in 1988.
In 2003, Marchant was named the Maricopa County Bar Association's 2003 Law Professor of the Year.
But this is the first award Marchant has received from students. He said it's gratifying that they appreciate his work, but he modestly downplayed his role in the award, saying, "The subject matter is interesting stuff."
Robert Milligan, who will receive his Master of Laws in Biotechnology and Genomics at commencement, gave all the credit to Marchant, who either taught or co-taught every class Milligan had.
"I think he's terrific," said Milligan, a partner at Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix. "He's very bright, enthusiastic as heck, and he's an extremely prodigious reader and writer. There isn't a topic discussed in class that he hasn't read about in Nature or The Wall Street Journal ."
That Marchant is a scientist only makes his teaching more effective, Milligan said. "He understands the underlying science and technology which, for me, is probably the most important part of the experience," he said. "I can do the law but, by and large, my interest (in the Master's program) was in learning the science."
In addition to his law degree, Marchant has a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of British Columbia, and a Masters of Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government. Prior to joining the ASU faculty in 1999, Marchant was a partner in a Washington, D.C., law firm, where he practiced environmental and administrative law.
He has written dozens of books and articles, and it was his significant research and writing skills that student Xochitl Orozco tried to absorb. Marchant helped Orozco, a Center Scholar, work on a research paper that he presented at a brain scanning technology conference in April.
"He made me a better student," said Orozco, who will do an externship this summer at the Arizona Court of Appeals. "This professor had enough faith in me to let me write a conference paper."
Marchant also oversaw her work on the staff of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology , which is edited by the Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology.
"He's the most approachable person for being so educated and so qualified and so intelligent. Never has there been a closed door for me, and I'm amazed by that," she said. "Whenever I'm stuck on anything, he's willing to talk me through it, and anything I'm interested in, he'll have something for me to read about it."
Orozco, whose undergraduate degree is in biology, said that's not the norm for science academicians. "They usually shut themselves in basements of science buildings, and that's definitely not what he was."
Past winners of the Outstanding Teaching Award include John Becker (2006), Bob Bartels (2005), Jennifer Barnes (2004), Alan Matheson (2003) and Judy Stinson (2002).