Gabriel "Jack" Chin '78 to receive 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award

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The Country School is proud to present the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award to Gabriel “Jack” Chin ’78, a renowned teacher and scholar of Immigration Law, Criminal Procedure, and Race and Law, in a virtual ceremony on Monday, June 7 at 10 a.m. The Edward L. Barrett Jr. Chair of Law, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law, and Director of Clinical Legal Education at UC Davis Law School, Professor Chin is also a frequent writer and speaker who, along with his students, has produced groundbreaking work to redress historical wrongs.

Professor Chin’s scholarship has appeared in the Penn, UCLA, Cornell, and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties law reviews and the Yale, Duke and Georgetown law journals among others. The U.S. Supreme Court cited his work on collateral consequences of criminal conviction in Chaidez v. United States (2013), in which the Court called his Cornell Law Review article “the principal scholarly article on the subject” and in Padilla v. Kentucky (2010), which agreed with his contention that the Sixth Amendment required defense counsel to advise clients about potential deportation consequences of guilty pleas. Justice Sonia Sotomayor cited his Penn Law Review article in her dissent in Utah v. Strieff, (2016). 

Working with his students, Professor Chin has helped repeal Jim Crow laws still on the books, including a 2003 petition to the Ohio legislature to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment some 136 years after the state disapproved it during the ratification process. Other successful efforts by Professor Chin and his students include persuading the California Supreme Court to posthumously admit Hong Yen Chang, the first Chinese-American lawyer in the United States, to the California bar in 2015, 125 years after he was denied entry because of his race. (Read about this effort, including an interview with Professor Chin, in this recent article from NBC). Another undertaking, this one focused on repealing anti-Asian alien land laws which were still on the books in Florida, Kansas, New Mexico, and Wyoming, led "A" Magazine to name Professor Chin one of the “25 Most Notable Asians in America.”

A graduate of Wesleyan University (BA), the University of Michigan (JD), and Yale University (LLM), Professor Chin is frequently interviewed about court proceedings and other legal matters. Recent interviews are included in reporting from NPR, USA Today, The Associated Press, ABC, NBC, the History channel and more. View a video of Professor Chin delivering a recent talk on Asian Americans and the Law presented as port of the UC Davis Racial Justice Speaker Series.   

“We are thrilled to welcome Professor Chin ‘back’ to campus this June so we can honor — and learn more about — his impactful legal scholarship and teaching,” said Head of School John Fixx. “Our school Mission calls on us to nurture our students’ unique roles in the community as we empower them to serve the common good. Through our Elmore Leadership Program, we work to develop students into civic-minded citizens who will become tomorrow’s leaders, practicing our school’s core values of kindness, respect, and responsibility. Likewise, our IDEA initiative [IDEA stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Empathy, and Action] is aimed at fostering inclusion, embracing diverse perspectives, cultivating empathy, and inspiring students to take civic action to benefit the greater good. Both as a legal scholar and as a teacher, Professor Chin embodies all of these ideals.” 

The Country School Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to a former student whose work or example embodies the Country School Mission. Professor Chin joins a growing list of Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, whose ranks include scientists, educators, artists, public servants, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, and innovators. 

The 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony is free and open to all members of The Country School community. Professor Chin’s talk will be followed by a Q & A. 
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Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child.