OXFORD, Miss.– Professor Matthew Hall and Professor Will Berry have been appointed to new endowed lectureships by Dean Deborah Bell in recognition of their outstanding achievements in teaching, research, and service.
Matthew Hall, associate professor of law and former senior associate dean, is the Law School’s newest Jessie D. Puckett, Jr., Lecturer in Law. Will Berry, associate professor of law and director of the Law School’s Cambridge Program, will become the Law School’s second Frank Montague, Jr. Professor of Legal Studies and Professionalism.
Professor Hall is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Kentucky College of Law. He teaches property, criminal procedure, legislation, and immigration. Hall also advises the Moot Court Board and recently finished up several years as associate dean for academic affairs and senior associate dean.
Professor Berry is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and received a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. He teaches criminal law, sports law, criminal procedure, and employment discrimination. Berry is a highly productive scholar specializing in Eighth Amendment law and also serves as advisor to the Mississippi Sports Law Review.
“I am so pleased to be able to honor these two individuals with new appointments,” said Dean Bell. “Matthew Hall and Will Berry have made such immense contributions to the life of the Law School over the last few years. There is no one on the faculty more deserving.”
The recipients were very appreciative. “It is such an honor to serve as a Jesse D. Puckett, Jr., Lecturer,” said Professor Hall. “It is such a testament to the generosity the Law School enjoys from its friends and alums that we have lectureships like this.” “Serving as a Montague Professor,” said Professor Berry, “is quite an honor, and one for which I am very thankful. Support from our alumni is indispensable to the important work we do for students and for the legal community.”
Professor Hall joins the Law School’s other Puckett Lecturers in the appointment, Senior Associate Dean Jack Wade Nowlin and Professor Lisa Shaw Roy.
The Jessie D. Puckett Lectureship honors its namesake, Jessie D. Puckett, a native Mississippian who graduated from the Law School in 1953. Puckett went on to a very distinguished career with Exxon and Forest Oil Company. Puckett was very devoted and loyal to his alma mater and began an endowment to support Ole Miss law faculty in 1987 with an initial gift of $2,000. Puckett, who passed away in late 2014, continued giving throughout his life and through his estate. The Puckett Endowment is now worth nearly $1,000,000.
“Jessie D. Puckett’s generous support for faculty has made a tremendous difference in the life of the Law School,” said Associate Dean Jack Wade Nowlin, the senior Puckett Lecturer, who has held the appointment for fifteen years. “We owe Jessie D. Puckett a large debt of gratitude.”
Professor Berry joins Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Ben Cooper in holding the Montague Professorship.
The Frank Montague, Jr. Professor of Legal Studies and Professionalism Endowment was recently established by H. Dixon Montague of Houston, Texas, in honor of his father–Frank Montague, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The elder Montague, who passed away in 2013, was a 1950 graduate of the Ole Miss Law School who went on to an illustrious legal career in the state, one marked by numerous achievements and honors, including service as Mississippi Bar President and induction into the UM School of Law Hall of Fame.
Associate Dean Cooper views the Montague appointment as a very high honor. “To hold an endowed professorship honoring someone of Frank Montague’s stature in our legal community is a tremendous professional compliment, and the faculty support it has provided is very important to the Law School’s teaching, research, and service.”
Indeed, the Ole Miss Law School’s tradition, unlike that of many schools, is to recognize teaching and service, as well as research, with endowed appointments, something embraced by faculty and alumni alike.
“I am particularly grateful,” said Professor Hall, “to work at an institution that recognizes not only the crucial importance of scholarship but also the essential value of classroom teaching along with the contributions our faculty make to the legal profession in Mississippi and nationally. If you look at the impressive list of our faculty holding chairs and lectureships, you will see two things—an incredible group of teacher-scholars committed to the profession and a phenomenal level of support provided by our donors.”