NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma College of Law has selected Carla D. Pratt, current law school dean and professor at Washburn University, as its inaugural Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair in Civil Rights, Race and Justice in Law.
Pending OU Board of Regents’ approval, Pratt is expected to begin fall 2022. She primarily will be teaching and conducting research in the areas of civil rights law, election law, and race and the law.
“Her experiential knowledge and driving passion for legal education, specifically in arenas involving civil rights and civil discourse, will profoundly impact our law students and our community,” said OU Law Dean Katheleen Guzman. “Dean Pratt is an ideal colleague for the Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher chair, a position that will preserve Dr. Sipuel Fisher’s legacy and continue our mission of providing a well-rounded education and experience for the next generation of lawyers and leaders.”
Pratt has served in her role at Washburn University School of Law since 2018, and has taught courses in constitutional law, federal Indian law, education law, and race and American law. Before joining Washburn Law, she served as associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law where she was the Nancy J. LaMont faculty scholar and professor of law.
While at Penn State Dickinson Law, Pratt was awarded the law school's Philip J. McConnaughay Award for outstanding achievement in diversity-related work. From 2012 to 2018, Pratt also served as an associate justice for the Supreme Court of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Fort Yates, North Dakota.
Pratt engages in scholarship examining racial diversity in law school and the legal profession. She is co-author of the book, The End of the Pipeline: A Journey of Recognition for African Americans Entering the Legal Profession; her most recent research project partners with Professors Eboni Nelson and Ronald Pitner at the University of South Carolina for an article in the Iowa Law Review, "Assessing the Viability of Race-Neutral Alternatives in Law School Admissions."
In 2019, OU Law launched a grassroots effort, in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher’s admission to the OU College of Law, to endow a chair in Fisher’s honor and recruit an outstanding faculty member who would support and empower law students with the tools necessary to engage in meaningful civil rights work.
Since its inception in September 2019, almost 80 donors of all different ages, races and backgrounds have come together to contribute close to $100,000 to the fund.
A gift of $910,000 from an anonymous donor completed the fund, making the Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair in Civil Rights, Race and Justice in Law possible. To further support this vision, the donor has pledged to match up to $90,000 for continuing donations to the fund.
To read more about Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, please visit the OU Law website at law.ou.edu/ALSF.
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