Two School of Law professors named ‘Carmen Tortora Professors of Law’

Professors Stephen G. Gilles and W. John Thomas

Professors Stephen G. Gilles and W. John Thomas

Stephen G. Gilles and W. John Thomasboth professors of law at the Quinnipiac University School of Law, have been named Carmen Tortora Professors of Law.

The family of the late Carmen Tortora, Sr., a longtime member of Quinnipiac’s Board of Trustees, established the three-year professorships. Recipients, selected by the dean, are chosen for distinguished service to the School of Law and the broader legal community through exceptional teaching, exceptional research, or both.

“Steve and John have made wonderful contributions over the years as teachers, scholars and citizens of our community,” said Jennifer Gerarda Brown, dean of the School of Law.

Gilles joined the School of Law faculty in 1995. He teaches courses in tort, insurance, administrative and advanced constitutional law and law and economics. His research interests include tort law, especially negligence and strict liability, and constitutional law, especially parental and abortion rights. Before joining the School of Law, he clerked for Judge Robert Bork and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, practiced as an appellate litigator, and taught at the University of Chicago Law School.

“It’s a great honor, especially because the four past recipients and John Thomas are great colleagues and outstanding professors,” Gilles said. “I’m delighted to join this distinguished company.”

Brown underscored Gilles’ excellent scholarship and contributions to the law school community.

“Steve has tackled controversial issues–including tort policy, parental rights, abortion, and gun laws–producing scholarship that is rigorous, fair, and incisive. All of us have benefited from the clarity and objectivity Steve brings not only to his scholarship, but to thorny issues of policy and governance here at the law school as well. He provides a consistent example for all of us in reasoned, civil discourse. Year after year, Steve has selflessly and energetically chaired one important committee after another,” Brown said.

A School of Law faculty member since 1988, Thomas teaches law and medicine, advanced law and medicine, civil procedure and commercial law. Before teaching at Quinnipiac, he was a litigator for seven years at Miller, Pitt and McAnally in Arizona and Wiggin and Dana in Connecticut. His research interests include health policy, politics, juvenile justice, and mental health treatment. Thomas is a guitar enthusiast who has performed at regional festivals, on live radio and in various other venues.

“I’m honored to receive this recognition, humbled to follow in the footsteps of my colleagues who have previously received this honor, and gratified to know that Quinnipiac University and its School of Law have expressed this level of support for my work,” Thomas said.

Brown emphasized Thomas’ scholarly work and contributions to the Quinnipiac community.

“Since John Thomas’s arrival, he has been a prolific scholar, publishing a wide variety of books, book chapters, law review articles, and other commentaries. Ever the Renaissance man, John has deftly balanced interests in music, endangered species, autism, prescription drugs, mental health, health care reform, and women’s history,” Brown said.

“John’s recent book, Kalamazoo Gals, has been excerpted for publication in magazines and compilations – and has launched a multi-media world tour combining text, art, and music. As Quinnipiac has developed its new Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, John has worked closely with medical faculty to design curricula and mentoring programs for medical students interested in health law and policy. His scholarship, teaching, and interdisciplinary collaboration have been, and continue to be, vital to our growing strength in health law,” she added.

Typically, the Carmen Tortora professors present a lecture or coordinate a conference on a topic of particular interest to them. Gilles and Thomas will have some time to develop these projects, and Quinnipiac will host the associated events sometime in 2014-2016.


Categories: School of Law

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