Two Outstanding Law Professors Win Top UH-Mānoa Awards

May 8, 2013

Two William S. Richardson School of Law professors - Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie and Calvin Pang - have been singled out for top awards from the University of Hawai‘i.

Associate Professor MacKenzie, director and founder of the Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law is being honored with the Regents’ Excellence in Teaching Award, while Associate Professor Pang has been named this year’s winner of the Robert W. Clopton Award for Outstanding Community Service.

The awards convocation took place April 30 in Orvis Hall.

MacKenzie’s teaching award recognizes her remarkable success in establishing and teaching in a center for Native Hawaiian law at UH, as well as for her exceptional abilities in regularly guiding a Second Year Writing Seminar, advising within the Law School’s moot court program, and doing impressive scholarly work.

Law Dean Avi Soifer said: “Professor MacKenzie is, at her core, a remarkably generous, forthcoming, and inspiring educator of all kinds of people, and Ka Huli Ao, through her leadership and diplomacy, now serves as an invaluable community resource.”

Soifer said Ka Huli Ao has matured under Professor MacKenzie’s leadership “to the point that it now offers a certificate program for law students who complete a designated curriculum and it also supports first-rate scholarship and runs a range of effective outreach programs.”

Associate Professor Pang’s work is similarly outstanding for his selfless and energetic assistance to some of the most vulnerable in society. Pang has spent years as a board member and chair with the Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i as well as leading projects for the Hawai‘i Access to Justice Commission.

“Calvin Pang always seems to be the ‘go to’ person in recognizing and doing something about pressing needs,” Soifer said. For example, Soifer added, “When faculty members sought a public interest project several years ago, it was Calvin who made all of the arrangements and led the effort to donate clothing and to serve lunches at River of Life mission.”

Pang volunteers Saturday mornings at the Humane Society, and he is also the faculty member who launched, and for the last decade has led, a unique tradition at the Law School called “Stew Day.” Professors serve a stew lunch to the students and present awards to students after collecting stories of those who did unusually generous things for their fellow students.

Soifer said: “Calvin has consistently gone far beyond his professional duties to lead the fight for - and to achieve - critical legal assistance for those most in need in Hawai‘i.”

The Clopton Award was established in 1977 as a memorial to a long-time College of Education Professor who exemplified academic expertise and community service.