Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

James O. Freedman 
Doctor of Laws  1988
Status: conferred

One of the foremost educators in the nation, James O. Freedman has distinguished himself as an able teacher, respected author, dean of a major law school and president of two outstanding institutions of higher learning. He combines, to an extent rarely achieved, the qualities of academic leadership and scholarly excellence. Following a distinguished tenure as president of the University of Iowa, he assumed the presidency of Dartmouth College in 1987. Earlier in his career, he served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania for 18 years, three of which were spent as dean of its law school. He served twice as professor of law at the Salzburg Institute of American Studies and was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina and Georgetown University. He also served as a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall and a member of the law faculty of Cambridge University. In 1976-77, he received a prestigious Fellowship for Independent Study and Research awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

After receiving his LL.B. cum laude from the Yale Law School, Freedman served as a law clerk to Thurgood Marshall and was associated with a New York law firm before entering the education field. He was chaired the American Bar Association's Advisory Commission on College and University Nonprofessional Studies and the Committee on Undergraduate Understanding of the Legal Process of the ABA Section on Legal Education. He is a member of the American Law Institute, Order of the Coif, Executive Committee of the Yale Law School Association, and Board of Trustees of the Jewish Publication Society of America. He is the author of a highly respected book, Crisis and Legitimacy: The Administrative Process and American Government.

James Freedman is an outspoken advocate of the importance of the liberal arts as the core of an undergraduate education. He espouses the values exemplified in the common educational experience that is a hallmark of SMU undergraduate education. Recognizing his distinguished contributions to his chosen profession of law, his leadership in higher education, and his commitment to the academic values that SMU cherishes, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer upon James O. Freedman the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.