Cass R. Sunstein ’75, a professor at Harvard Law School and former White House appointee, was selected as Harvard’s newest University Professor, the University announced Tuesday. With this distinction, Sunstein joins 23 of Harvard’s most recognized faculty members including the likes of University Professors Lawrence H. Summers, Helen Vendler, and Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr.
In a press release, University President Drew G. Faust announced that Sunstein would assume the Robert Walmsley University Professorship following the retirement of Law School professor emeritus Frank I. Michelman.
“Cass Sunstein’s scholarly work has cast fresh light on long-standing questions and opened new paths for legal theorists,” she said. “He is a scholar, teacher, mentor, colleague, and public servant of uncommon range and distinction.”
Michelman said that he could not be more pleased by the appointment.
“Cass Sunstein has made exceptional contributions to learning, to understanding, to public policy on a remarkable number of different levels,” he said. “He’s the kind of multi-faceted, well-rounded scholar and contributor that I think University professorships should recognize.”
Sunstein said the announcement came as a surprise, and that he was both “honored and humbled.”
“I had in mind: teach my courses and write my articles,” he said. “It’s a great honor that Professor Faust would see fit to do this.”
Sunstein, who is among one of the nation’s most cited legal scholars, has published over 30 books and hundreds of articles in a variety of legal fields including administrative law, constitutional law, environmental law, and labor and employment law.
He left his position as the White House’s administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in August 2012 to return to teaching at Harvard Law School.
“Working in government is the honor of a lifetime. I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity,” he said.
Still, Sunstein noted that he continues to love the classroom experience.
“If you have an idea that might be original and true, that’s a thrilling moment. If students have an idea that’s original and true, that’s completely thrilling,” Sunstein said, reflecting on his classroom experience. “I hope to be the best teacher that I could possibly be. And I hope that my next articles and books are as good as I can make them.”
—Staff writer Zohra D. Yaqhubi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @zohradyaqhubi.