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Matheson earns Jesse Udall Award

July 08, 2008

Professor Alan Matheson of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has received a prestigious award named for an Arizonan who was a dedicated public servant and a model for future lawyers.

Matheson, dean emeritus at the College of Law, received the Jesse Udall Community Service Award in May from the Phoenix chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, for providing significant service to the greater community.

Udall was a former chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, an officer in the U.S. and Arizona National Guards, a veteran of World War I and World War II, and a bishop, president and missionary president for the Mormon Church.

Judge Daniel A. Barker of the Arizona Court of Appeals, a past president of the Phoenix chapter, says Matheson’s selection was an easy one.

“Alan has rendered a couple persons’ lifetime of service,” Barker says. “To us, he was an obvious choice. He’s highly respected in the legal community, and he has been a great example for so many of us who believe in the rule of law and the role that faith plays in it.” Matheson says the award was unexpected.

“I was delighted to receive it, and I treasure it because of the organization and the wonderful attorneys who are members,” says Matheson, who serves as the adviser for the student chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society at the College of Law. “Their recognition is especially meaningful.”

The society draws on the philosophy and personal example of J. Reuben Clark Jr., a Mormon lawyer who had a long and distinguished career, having worked for the U.S. Department of State, as a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and as a longtime counselor to president Heber J. Grant of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Udall also had an impressive career, having served as Graham County attorney, a member of the Arizona Legislature and a superior court judge in Graham County. As a legislator, he sponsored a bill that established junior college districts in Arizona.

Udall, who retired as chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court in 1972, died April 18, 1980.

Matheson, who knew Udall, calls him a “compassionate and able person and a wonderful role model.” Udall also was fair-minded, and he recognized talent: years ago, when no one would interview – much less hire – Mary Schroeder, he employed her as a clerk. Schroeder later went on to become chief judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.