Professional News

'Great Teacher' Zachary Bray Educating Next Generation of Kentucky Leaders

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 13, 2022) — Six of the University of Kentucky's passionate and accomplished educators were surprised earlier this spring by student nominators and the UK Alumni Association as 2022 Great Teacher Award recipients.

Zachary Bray is one of this year’s Great Teacher Award recipients. As the James and Mary Lassiter Professor of Law in the J. David Rosenberg College of Law, Bray is dedicated to educating the next generation of legal minds serving the Commonwealth.

“To be a lawyer in Kentucky, it can be such a special thing for the state. But you know, even beyond that, I think we have the ability to work on so many different things that are important to Kentucky because so many of Kentucky's lawyers and judges and legislators and governors are coming through the school,” Bray shared.

A native of Lexington, Bray began teaching in the Rosenberg College of Law in 2016. Prior to entering academia, Bray worked for Judge Jennifer B. Coffman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, for Judge Carolyn Dineen King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and as an attorney at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Los Angeles, California.

He has taught classes on the topics of property, natural resources, real estate transactions, water law, land use, administrative law, payment systems, and related writing seminars.

His research on low-income housing, private land trusts, the Endangered Species Act, groundwater conflicts, religious land use and monument laws has been published or reprinted in the William & Mary Law Review, the Brigham Young University Law Review, the Harvard Environmental Law Review, JOTWELL and other leading journals.

“It is the greatest gift that you can get as a teacher; to know that you have students who feel that way about your teaching,” said Bray. “I think I'm probably the luckiest academic in the country. I really do.”

Learn more about why this UK Alumni Association 2022 "Great Teacher" loves to help his students find their passions in the video above, and check out this week's "Behind the Blue" podcast also featuring Bray.

Bray is just one of the 2022 UK Alumni Association Great Teacher award winners. This summer, UKNow will highlight each of these Great Teachers. Watch their stories here.

Initiated in 1961, UK’s Great Teacher Award is the longest-running UK award recognizing teaching. In order to receive the award, educators must first be nominated by a student. The UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award Committee, in cooperation with the student organization Omicron Delta Kappa, then makes the final selection. Recipients receive an engraved plaque and stipend.

Zachary Bray teaching in classroom
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.