Faculty Excellence: An Enduring Tribute

Professor James E. Jones Jr. LLB'56

The late Professor James E. Jones Jr. LLB’56 was a visionary and a trailblazer for civil rights, labor law, and UW Law School. He returned to the university in 1969 to become UW Law School’s first African American faculty member. A passionate educator, Jones went on to create a teaching fellowship in 1973 in support of underrepresented faculty pursuing tenure-track positions. UW Law’s William H. Hastie Teaching Fellowship remains the oldest program of its kind — and nationally, it is one of just a handful in existence.

A firm believer in the Wisconsin Idea, Jones retired from the UW in 1993 but continued teaching labor law and labor arbitration as professor emeritus until 1997. What began after his death in 2014, and continued over the next seven years, was an incredible feat of philanthropy. A group of 99 alumni and donors banded together to bolster his legacy and established the most significant endowed position for UW Law School. The James E. Jones Jr. Chair in Law is the UW’s first fully funded chair named in honor of an African American faculty member, focusing on racial justice as well as labor and employment law.

UW Law School hopes to award it for the first time in fall of 2022. “Professor Jones was a towering figure at the law school. The chair bearing his name will continue his memory and legacy here forever,” says Dean Emerita Margaret Raymond. “It is a powerful reminder of a great teacher, mentor, leader, and colleague.”