Law School awards endowed chair to M. Cathleen Kaveny

by Dennis Brown

M. Cathleen Kaveny, a member of the Notre Dame Law School faculty since 1995, has been appointed the John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law at Notre Dame, according to Nathan O. Hatch, the University’s provost. The chaired professorship was established with a $5-million grant from the John P. Murphy Foundation of Cleveland to endow three faculty chairs in the Law School for scholars whose teaching and research emphasize moral and ethical values in law.p. “Cathy Kaveny has earned a national reputation for her work on the relationship between law and morality,” Hatch said. “Her well-regarded teaching and scholarship in this field make her an ideal selection for the first of the Murphy Foundation chairs.”p. Kaveny addresses topics such as the function of religious discourse in the public square and the role of law as a moral teacher in a pluralistic society. Much of her scholarship focuses on questions in health care ethics, such as assisted suicide, cloning, and managed care, topics about which she frequently lectures both nationally and internationally.p. Kaveny has published more than 35 scholarly articles on issues lying at the intersection of law, morality and religion, and she currently is working on one book on complicity with evil and another on the relationship between justice and mercy. She has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Law and Religion, the Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics, and the American Journal of Jurisprudence.p. Kaveny is an active participant in conversations about the relationship of Catholicism and intellectual life. She serves on the steering committee of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative founded by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and is a member of the advisory board for Notre Dame’s Erasmus Institute, which was established in 1997 to focus on reinvigorating the role of the Catholic intellectual tradition in contemporary scholarship.p. In addition to teaching contracts to first-year law students, Kaveny also teaches interdisciplinary classes in both the Law School and the theology department, where she holds a joint appointment.p. Kaveny was graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and holds four advanced degrees from Yale University, including her law degree and a doctorate in ethics. Prior to joining the Notre Dame faculty, she clerked for Judge John T. Noonan Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, and practiced in the Boston law firm Ropes&Gray in its health-law group. She served as the Royden B. Davis Visiting Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at Georgetown University in the spring of 1998.p. The Murphy Foundation was established by the late John P. Murphy, chairman of the board of the Higbee Company of Cleveland and a Notre Dame trustee for 36 years until his death in 1969. A native of Westboro, Mass., and a 1912 graduate of Notre Dame, Murphy practiced law in Minneapolis and in Montana before the outbreak of World War I, when he joined the Army Air Corps. After the war, he practiced law in Cleveland, eventually becoming president of the Higbee Company.p. Murphy was elected president of the Notre Dame Alumni Association in 1928, and he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University in 1952. During his lifetime, he contributed more than $650,500 to Notre Dame. Previous benefactions to the University from the Murphy Foundation amount to $1.6 million and have funded the purchase of collections and expanded services in the Kresge Law Library.

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