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University of South Carolina dean elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Christina Lee Knauss //April 20, 2023//

University of South Carolina dean elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Christina Lee Knauss //April 20, 2023//

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William Hubbard, the dean of the University of South Carolina School of Law, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  

The academy, founded in 1780, is a prestigious fellowship of artists, scholars and leaders who work together for the public good. Previous members include famous names such as Ben Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, and Colin Powell, as well as more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners.  

Hubbard is only the seventh person from South Carolina institutions to be appointed to the academy, according to a news release. Four of the seven had ties to USC. Hubbard is the University’s fifth honoree, joining poet and professor Nikky Finney who was elected to the academy in 2020.

Hubbard called his appointment a “total surprise” and said he learned of the honor in an email.

“I was just going through my email and had to read it three times,” he told SC Biz News. “This was totally unexpected – I’m not even familiar with the process of how I got nominated and elected. I’m just very humbled and honored to have been elected.”

He will be inducted into the Academy at a formal ceremony on Sept. 30 in Cambridge, Mass.

A native of Florence, Hubbard is a graduate of the USC Law School where he is a professor and has served as dean since 2020.

“I’m thrilled at the momentum of the law school – we’re on an upward trajectory,” he said.

Hubbard is especially proud of several new programs underway at the law school, including expansion of the school’s law clinic for veterans, and a new master of legal studies program that will include topics such as health care compliance. With the support of the General Aseembly, the law school is also creating a Law Enforcement Leadership Institute that will offer education and training for law enforcement employees from around the state. Hubbard said the goal is to have the institute up and running in the fall, with expanded offerings for more students in 2024.

He brings a wide range of experience at the state and national level to the Academy. 

Hubbard served as president of the American Bar Association in 2014-15 and previously served a two-year term as chair of the ABA’s House of Delegates. He is also past president of the American Bar Foundation and a past president of the American Bar Endowment. In 2019-20, he served as chair of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which reports to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate on the qualifications of federal judicial nominees, according to his official biography.

During his tenure as president of the American Bar Association, he led efforts to increase access to justice through innovation, reform the criminal justice system, provide legal assistance to unaccompanied immigrant children and improve support for victims of domestic violence.

“Dean Hubbard’s distinguished legal career has advanced the cause of justice across our state, nation and globe,” USC President Michael Amiridis said. “Our students and our university have benefitted from his insightful leadership in countless ways, and he is eminently deserving of this recognition.”

Hubbard is co-founder and chair of the Board of the World Justice Project, a multinational, multidisciplinary initiative to strengthen the rule of law worldwide. The project annually evaluates 140 countries in its Rule of Law index, measuring corruption, open government, civil justice and criminal justice. The index is used by global organizations including the World Bank, United Nations and European Union.

He is also a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the Council of the American Law Institute and an Honorary Master of the Bench of Middle Temple in London. His accolades include being presented with the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian award presented by a South Carolina governor, and receiving the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit. In 2016, the Burton Foundation, in collaboration with the Library of Congress, named Hubbard the recipient of its inaugural “Leadership in Law” award.