Presentation of the Wayne T. Westling Award to Professor Dennis Hyatt

Read by W. Andrew Marcus, President of the University Senate May 25, 2004

It is my great pleasure today to present The Wayne T. Westling Award for University Leadership and Service to Dennis Hyatt, Director of the Law Library at the Knight Law Center. The Westling Award was established by the University Senate in 2001 to honor faculty or staff who have provided long-term leadership and service to the university community. The two criteria for the Wayne T. Westling Award are: It is appropriate that we meet in the Law School today, because not only is the recipient of the award - Dennis Hyatt - a member of the Law Faculty and Library Officers of Administration, but also, the award is named in honor of Professor Wayne Westling, a Professor of Law. It is Professor Westling who set the standard by which we make this award. Wayne published 4 books, several book chapters, and a large body of articles in both scholarly journals and the popular press. As a teacher, Professor Westling provided inspirational lectures, while still making time to be available on an individual basis with students. He also practiced law as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles and Douglas County.

Professor Westling thus set high standards as a scholar and teacher. Remarkably, he set even higher standards as a university citizen. He:

  • served as a 12 year member of the University Senate and its President for one year,
  • participated in almost every existing Law School committee,
  • chaired many Law School and University Committees, including the University's Affirmative Action Task Force, Protection of Human Subjects Committee, and Senate Budget Committee, and
  • was the senior author of the White Paper on Faculty Salary Improvements, a paper that guides our budgetary thinking to this day
  • In giving this award, we acknowledge and remember the remarkable contributions that Wayne Westling made to our university.

    Given this history, it is enjoyable to see this year's award go to a member of the Law Faculty. Moreover, in this year especially, it seems appropriate that the award is going to a member of the Library faculty. The libraries represent the center piece of a liberal arts education, being the special place on campus where scholarship, teaching, and service merge into a seamless whole. And it is librarians, of course, who manage this endeavor, guiding us - teaching us - in our conduct of research, our compilation of teaching materials, and our presentations of these products - all while balancing the requirement to serve over 25,000 often very needy students, staff, and faculty. In our present climate of onerous budget cuts, it is remarkable that the libraries can continue to serve and support all segments of the campus community at such a high level of performance. This exemplary service, this inclusiveness, this leadership - all are at the heart of what we acknowledge with the Wayne Westling Award. Were it in my power, we would give every member of the library staff such an award, and on a daily basis. We applaud your contributions.

    Given the high standards already set by Wayne Westling and by the Library staff, it is therefore all the more remarkable that one individual has made such major contributions to the university that the faculty of the Law School and the Libraries have nominated him for special recognition.

    Dennis - could I ask that you join me at the podium? We wish to acknowledge, appreciate, and cherish your lifelong contributions in as public a manner as possible.

    The Westling Award is the one annual award given by the University Senate. It represents our appreciation of those leaders who have committed their intellect, skills, passion, and considerable time to the betterment of the University. As the only standing award made by the University Senate and given the remarkable standard set by Wayne Westling, we treat the award process and its designation with formality and reverence - we do not bestow it lightly.

    Your contributions, however, are so deep and so broad that there was never a moment of hesitation in the Senate's decision to bestow upon you the Wayne Westling Award for University Leadership and Service. I hope you will indulge me as I cite just some of the many accomplishments and contributions you have made in your career. (I should note that many of the following comments come directly from letters of nomination - I hope the writers will forgive me if I do not acknowledge each of them by name.)

    Dennis Hyatt joined the University of Oregon as Associate Law Librarian in 1976, and became its Director in 1981. In 1986-1988, he served on the University Senate and was that body's Parliamentarian for the 1987-1988 term. Critical to the Library Faculty has been Professor Hyatt's service as a four-time elected member and as chair on the Library Faculty Personnel Committee, a position that is central to insuring that Library personnel are judged fairly. His knowledge of university governance procedures and his unfailingly fair and thoughtful comments landed him on the Library Faculty Standards Review Committee, which revisited and modified the promotion process and standards for all Library Faculty throughout the university.

    The list of committee service extends far beyond these positions. As Dennis said to me on the phone, his dual appointment on both the Law School Faculty and the Library Faculty allowed him `` double the meetings, double the fun.'' As Dennis will soon to be emeriti, I look forward to offering Dennis many more opportunities to join in the `` fun.''

    Rather than dwell on each committee position, allow me to briefly enumerate - with occasional comments - the many committees inside and outside the university to which Dennis has contributed his time and leadership:

    Of particular note during the last decade has been Professor Hyatt's efforts (and successes!) in bringing the entire Law School into the internet age. Dennis anticipated this need in advance of the trend and before many were aware of how essential these tools would be to our present day workplace. Multiple nominators note that Dennis, through his inclusive style, was able to bring faculty, administration and staff alike to collaborative decisions that made the Knight Law Building as electronically advanced as it is today. Two writers note that `` Dennis is responsible for almost single-handedly creating within the law school shared governance on matters relating to information resources and research.''

    To view Professor's Hyatt's leadership and service contributions as coming only through committees, however, is to miss the direct one-on-one contributions that Dennis has made to so many individuals on this campus. In letter after letter, nominators speak of Dennis Hyatt's `` humanity,'' `` compassion,'' `` kindness,'' `` caring,'' and `` true commitment to well being of others.'' One letter writer notes how Dennis `` acknowledges the achievements of others and honors each individual'' An external evaluator of the Law School commented on the `` cooperative spirit that Dennis has fostered across campus,'' a spirit that is `` unique'' to this campus.

    Many individuals speak to Dennis' role as a mentor, someone who taught people `` how to value one's career, strive to perform exceptional work, and at the same time not lose site of their proper place in the context of one's life.'' This mentoring role has extended to students, faculty and staff, whether it be through guiding undergraduates to law careers, helping library personnel develop professional portfolios, or provide in-depth editing to a faculty member' draft manuscript for a book.

    Dennis' leadership and service contributions are thus critical to the day-to-day functioning of the entire Law School, the built environment in which Law School personnel live and work, the promotion and retention criteria and process for all Library Faculty, and the well being of individuals across our entire campus. The outcomes from Professor Hyatt's leadership service thus go beyond `` exemplary'' and `` inclusive'' - the wording in the Westling Award - to a level where his contributions cannot be separated from the weave of daily university life. He has helped build the loom, he has helped design the patterns, and he has helped weave the threads. There is no service contribution that can be more fundamental, more profound, more useful, than this. Dennis has influenced our lives across this campus, even when we are not aware of it. His contributions form much of the fabric of what we are as an institution and who we are as individuals. We are better people, and a better place, because of Dennis' presence in our lives.

    It is therefore with great pleasure and deep appreciation, that on behalf of the University of Oregon Senate, I present Dennis Hyatt with this year's Wayne T. Westling Award for University Leadership and Service.

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