GORDON A. CHRISTENSON'S
PERSONAL COMMENTS


Throughout my career as a professor, in government service, as an academic administrator and as a lawyer, common themes have emerged. I have associated with men and women of greatness, vision and talent. They took time to teach me that it is possible to put into action substantive ideas for constructive change serving the common good. Beginning with a unique education combining law with arts and sciences, I have always been curious about the interrelatedness of knowledge and how leaders of diverse interests create or improve institutions in sustaining our values through law.

Academic Experience

My academic experience has been of two kinds:

   1)Teaching and Writing. As a law professor I have been intellectually curious about the connection between law and other knowledge within society. My current appointment is University Professor of Law. On July 1, 1998 I became emeritus. My scholarship has attempted to contribute something to the literature from time to time. I have drawn from experience as a law professor teaching jurisprudence, international and constitutional law at three university law schools, one private and two public. I taught while in government. As a visiting scholar at Harvard and Yale law schools, I refreshed and learned. For two years I held the Charles Stockton Chair of International Law at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, a visiting civilian faculty position. During summers I have taught at Utah and in Canada and twice did research at M.I.T. As a member of the faculty of the Federal Judicial Center, I worked with federal judges and others on improving the administration of justice. I was a visitor at the University of Maine Law School spring term 1997. I held the Wallace S. Fujiyama Distinguished Visiting Professorship, University of Hawai'i School of Law, 1997 fall term. After retiring from full time teaching in 1998, I have continued to write and beginning in 2005 have offered a jurisprudence seminar on law, science and religion.

   2)Academic Administration.As an academic administrator charged with responsibility of improving academic institutions, I participated in the processes of change and innovation. Their risks as well as their rewards are well known to me. My academic administration experience includes two central administration positions at research universities and two academic law deanships (one private, and one public) where I have been fortunate in leading the major academic development of several institutions.

Government Service

The major emphasis of my professional experience has been of two kinds of public service, in two departments of the federal government at the secretarial or policy levels in both international and domestic concerns. My last government service ending in 1967 directed me into the problems of a national policy concerning civilian science and technology, of handling the President's reorganization plan for the environmental sciences, or measurement of the potential harm to consumers by certain products, and of the relationship between safety regulations and free enterprise. I drafted and worked with Congress on major legislation proposals. I began my career in international law in the Legal Advisor's Office in the State Department. Both of these experiences are worth summarizing briefly:

Department of State.  As attorney and Acting Assistant Legal Advisor for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, I worked on problems such as the Kashmir dispute, the Israeli-Arab conflict, the Indian-Chinese border dispute, disputes and policy in the Persian Gulf, and African problems such as the former Congo and Katanga province secession.

Other work included handling international claims of injured U.S. nationals involving Western and Eastern European countries, including reciprocal claims and settlement negotiations with, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Poland, USSR, Italy, France, U.K., Austria and Greece, among others.

Department of Commerce.  I was the first person to be appointed as Assistant General Counsel for Science and Technology in the United States Department of Commerce. This post recognized the need for a civilian science and technology policy to be reflected in public law. Responsible for legal and policy advice to the Secretary of Commerce and Assistant Secretary for Science and Technology, I recruited, organized and supervised a professional staff of lawyers for that purpose. The substantive work varied widely and included international aspects of civilian science and technology, the environmental sciences, industrial technology, the patent system, engineering standards, product safety, policy and planning, and drafting major legislative proposals (enacted into law) in a number of areas. In 1967, I was awarded the Silver Medal by the Secretary of Commerce for my work in Science and Public Law.

Other

My professional experience included private practice in Salt Lake City and a law clerkship for the late Chief Justice Roger J. McDonough of the Utah Supreme Court, before traveling East for graduate law work and public service. I also served as attorney in the National Guard Bureau of the Department of the Army, Washington D.C. in 1957-58.



May, 2008.

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