Ann Blackford

UK Chief Legal Counsel and Adjunct Law Professor Honored for Excellence in Higher Education

Published: Feb 18, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2014) William E. Thro, general legal counsel and adjunct law professor at the University of Kentucky, received the William A. Kaplin Award for Excellence in Higher Education from the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law. The award, named for noted Catholic University law professor emeritus and scholar William A. Kaplin, recognizes scholars who have published works on education law that embrace the intersection of law and policy. The award was presented Feb. 16, as part of the 35th Annual National Conference on Law and Higher Education in Orlando, Fla.

 

Dean and Professor David A. Brennen of University of Kentucky College of Law praised Thro as “a great legal mind” and said that “his recognition as a preeminent education law scholar is very well deserved.”

 

As chief legal officer at UK, Thro provides proactive advice on critical legal and policy issues confronting a public flagship land-grant research university with a major academic medical center and a Bowl Championship Series athletics program. Prior to assuming his present position in 2012, Thro spent more than 20 years representing public universities, including eight years as university counsel of Christopher Newport University. He is a past president of the Education Law Association and his profile appears in "Beyond The Big Firm: Profiles of Lawyers Who Want Something More" (Alan B. Morrison & Diane T. Chin, eds., 2007).

 

In addition to his position as UK's general counsel, Thro has a long and distinguished career as an accomplished attorney, academic and appellate advocate. His research focuses on constitutional law in educational contexts in both the U.S. and South Africa with a particular emphasis on school finance litigation. He was an associate professor of constitutional studies at Christopher Newport University. In recognition of his numerous scholarly articles, book chapters, and other publications, he was recognized as a Fellow of the National Association of College and University Attorneys in 2007 and a Distinguished Research Fellow of the National Education Finance Conference in 2012.

 

As solicitor general of Virginia for four years, Thro was responsible for the Virginia state government's U.S. Supreme Court litigation, except capital cases, as well as lower court appeals involving the constitutionality of statutes or politically sensitive issues. He argued two cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and 33 cases in the lower appellate courts. Thro co-authored seven U.S. court merits briefs, 11 U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs, and more than 50 briefs at the petition stage. He received two Best Brief Awards from the National Association of Attorneys General and chaired the Virginia Bar Association's Appellate Practice Section.

 

A native of Kentucky, Thro received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Hanover College. In addition to receiving the Crowe Citation as the outstanding male in his class, he was the first Hanover student to become a Harry S. Truman Scholar. He earned a graduate degree with honours from the University of Melbourne while attending as a Rotary Foundation International Ambassadorial Scholar. His law degree is from the University of Virginia where he was a published member of the Virginia Law Review and research assistant to constitutional law Professor A.E. Dick Howard. He began his legal career as a judicial clerk to the late Judge Ronald E. Meredith of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in Louisville.

 

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