Ronald A. Brand to Succeed Alberta M. Sbragia in Nordenberg Chair

Issue Date: 
January 18, 2011
Ronald A. BrandRonald A. Brand

Ronald A. Brand, professor of law and founding director of the Center for International Legal Education in the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, has been named to the Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg Chair, effective Jan. 1. He succeeds Alberta M. Sbragia, who relinquished the Chair when she became Pitt’s vice provost for graduate studies during the past academic term.

The “Chancellor’s Chair” was created in 2005 to mark the 10th anniversary of Nordenberg’s service in that office. It was funded with $2.5 million in personal contributions from trustees, alumni leaders, and other donors. At the time of its creation, late Chief Justice of Pennsylvnia Ralph J. Cappy, then the chair of the Pitt Board of Trustees, stated: “This endowed chair indicates the extraordinary esteem in which we hold Mark Nordenberg, not only as an individual and as a leader who has brought the University to an unprecedented level of success, but also as a true academic at heart. And for a person who is a true academic, the highest honor one can bestow is to endow a faculty chair in his or her name in perpetuity.”

In describing his vision for the Chair, Nordenberg has said that it should be held by someone who not only has earned disciplinary distinction but who also has a record of “institution building,” since the funds generated by the Chair are to be used principally to create or enhance programs that add strength to the University and breadth to the learning experiences available to its students. In announcing Brand’s appointment, the chancellor said, “The quality of our international legal programs has become a distinguishing feature of our School of Law, and no one deserves more credit for that than Ron Brand. In all of his work, which has earned him respect around the world, Ron has placed students at the heart of his efforts and has found ways to effectively partner across the boundaries that too often divide disciplines, institutions, cultures, and countries.”

Some of Brand’s most productive collaborations have been with Sbragia. “Ron and I have been partners in carrying forward the University’s international mission, and I know that he will use the Chair’s resources to further enhance the University’s reputation both at home and abroad,” said Sbragia. “Ron is both visionary and enormously energetic. He is so dedicated to the rule of law that he has influenced law students on several continents and helped to shape national legal cultures. The Nordenberg Chair will allow him to be even more influential and productive in promoting the rule of law through education and in strengthening Pitt’s profile both here and abroad.”

Brand’s impact in elevating the Pitt School of Law through his work was underscored by Dean Mary Crossley: “Professor Ron Brand richly deserves this wonderful recognition of his work by the University. This honor from his own community comes on top of the recognition that Ron and his work have received from leading organizations and individuals in the international law arena, including the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, the Hague Academy of International Law, and senior officials in the United States Departments of State and Commerce. Ron has effectively led the School of Law’s efforts to develop international and comparative law programs that today attract highly talented students from around the country and around the world. His commitment to scholarship, teaching, and advancing the rule of law is exemplary, and I’m delighted he is being recognized in this fashion.”

Brand joined the faculty of the Pitt School of Law in 1982. His major areas of scholarly focus are international and comparative law, and he has published extensively in those areas, while also serving on the editorial boards of The Journal of Private International Law and the American Journal of Comparative Law. He was the driving force behind the creation of the School of Law’s Center for International Legal Education and Master of Laws Program for Foreign Law Graduates. Brand has received both the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (1989) and Distinguished Public Service Award (2003). His impact as a teacher also has been recognized by the students of the School of Law through their presentation to him of the Student Bar Association’s Excellence-in-Teaching Award. Within the University, he is a member of the faculty advisory committees for the Center for Russian and East European Studies, the European Union Center of Excellence, and the Global Studies Program.

From 1993 to 2005, Brand served as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Special Commission of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, charged with negotiating a convention on jurisdiction and the effects of foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters. Currently, he is both an Invited Expert Observer to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Working Group on Online Dispute Resolution and a member of the American Society of International Law Working Group on the Implementation of the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements. He also has been selected to lecture on private international law at the 2011 Hague Academy of International Law.

Brand is a graduate of of the University of Nebraska, where he earned a BA in political science and was the recipient of a Regents Scholarship, and an alumnus of Cornell University, where he earned his JD and was editor-in-chief of the Cornell International Law Journal.