More than 50 people gathered at the Washington, D.C., home of U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman and his wife, Anne, a former UNM law professor, to learn about the Pamela B. Minzner Chair in Professionalism at the UNM School of Law. Anne Bingaman is a member of the Minzner chair committee.
The law school has launched a campaign to create a lasting honor and tribute to Minzner, former justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court and a former UNM law professor. She died in August 2007 after a struggle with breast cancer. Once established, the chair will be awarded to a UNM law professor who exemplifies professionalism inside and away from the classroom.
At the recent reception, UNM School of Law alumni and friends of the school who live in the Washington, D.C. area were joined by Minzner's widower, Dick, and some of their Harvard Law classmates from the Class of 1968.
To help establish the chair, the 2008 New Mexico Legislature allocated $600,000 in matching funds. Every donation will be matched dollar for dollar until June 2010. Donations can be made in multiple payments, spread out over a few years for tax purposes.
"The school of law is well on its way to reaching our fundraising goals for the chair, but we are still working to obtain gifts in order to receive all legislative matching dollars," says Dean Leo Romero.
Helping to make the event a success were volunteers Suedeen Kelly, a former UNM law professor and current Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner, Ann Claassen (`89) and Henry Rivera (`73).
One of the Minzners' sons, Max, a law professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and his wife, Mary Tobler, also attended.
"My mother believed that teaching professionalism in law school was the first step in building a bar of New Mexico lawyers who treated each other with respect and as a result, served their clients as well as the people of New Mexico,” says Max.