Sidebar        Rogers awarded university’s Distinguished Service Award

Professor Emeritus Nancy Hardin Rogers was presented with The Ohio State University’s Distinguished Service Award at this year’s spring commencement ceremony for her long record of service to the university and the Moritz College of Law, and for her current work as a founder of the legal movement toward mediation.

The Distinguished Service Award was established by the Ohio State Board of Trustees in 1952 to recognize individuals who have rendered exceptional service to the university. Historically, recipients of this award have provided a broad spectrum of service to the university in a variety of official and unofficial capacities, both on campus and off.

In her nomination letter, Professor Martha Chamallas describes Rogers as a leading force in the legal community and true champion of the university’s mission to, “advance the well-being of the people of Ohio and the global community through the creation and dissemination of knowledge.” 

“A common thread running through Nancy’s service is how she has built relationships between those inside the university and those outside it so that ‘the people of Ohio and the global community’ can benefit from the amazing resource that is The Ohio State University. In doing so, Nancy has burnished the reputation of the university and led others to even higher achievements,” Chamallas said.

A 1972 graduate of Yale Law School, Rogers began her distinguished 40-year career at the law school in 1975. Thanks to her visionary leadership, she rose through the ranks to become vice provost of the university, a position she left in 2001, when she was selected to serve as dean of the Moritz College of Law.

As a leader and respected expert in the field of alternative dispute resolution, Rogers has built a reputation as a foremost expert on the subject. A search for her name in a legal database reveals she has been cited more than 1,300 times, and further review shows that in many of those articles, the authors cited more than one of her works. She was the first faculty adviser for the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, a student journal that is now the official journal of the American Bar Association’s Section on Dispute Resolution. She has authored numerous award-winning publications on the subject, including the nation’s foremost dispute resolution textbook, and her leadership was recognized as vital to the drafting and passage of the Uniform Mediation Act.

Under her deanship at the Moritz College of Law, Rogers fostered a collegiality among the faculty community that is an ongoing part of her legacy. She also spearheaded the creation of many innovative programs, including Election Law @ Moritz, the Distinguished Practitioners in Residence program, Mentoring & More @ Moritz, and the Law and Leadership Institute, a statewide diversity pipeline focused on increasing law school enrollment from minority and underserved communities. Her support of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity ensured that the Institute started off on the right foot with Rogers leading recruitment efforts for John A. Powell, its founding director.    

Respected across the nation for both her leadership and legal skills, Rogers left her role as dean of the College in 2008, at the governor’s request, to serve as Ohio’s attorney general. Over the course of her remarkable career she also was appointed as one of Ohio’s five commissioners on the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation.

In addition to her work at both the state and national levels, Rogers has also served in several leadership roles for the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).  She served as a member (and often chair) of a variety of ABA and AALS committees and sections, including the Bar Admission Committee of the ABA’s section on legal education. She also served as AALS President for the 2007-08 academic year. 

In 2014, Rogers received the prestigious James F. Henry Award from the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution. This lifetime achievement award recognized her remarkable contributions to the legal field as a teacher, scholar, and innovator.

More recently, Rogers has helped organize the Divided Community Project, which focuses on the prevention of polarization in the conflicts communities face. Current initiatives include establishing pilot programs which plan in advance of civil unrest, offering suggestions for improving practice, developing conflict assessment tools, and advocating for the use of collaborative methods for turning community division into positive action.

A primary force in the development of a new field of legal scholarship, a national leader in legal education policy, and a respected law school administrator, Rogers, “has served Ohio State and its constituencies through an outstanding career that has always put the goals of the University ahead of her own,” Chamallas wrote. “We proudly place her name in nomination for the university’s Distinguished Service Award.”