Professor Mike Steenson received an honorary degree at Mitchell Hamline’s commencement on June 3. The law school’s board of trustees has approved the degree in recognition of his 50 years of service to Mitchell Hamline.
“I’m now one of you,” exclaimed Steenson to the students before him.
Steenson was 26 years old and fresh off a clerkship with U.S. District Judge Miles Lord when he was hired in 1972 as a full-time member of the William Mitchell College of Law faculty. He was originally hired to teach Torts and Federal Jurisdiction. At the time, William Mitchell was a night school with part-time students; most of the teaching was handled by part-time faculty.
“I thought I would try teaching for maybe one or two years,” said Steenson, at Saturday’s ceremony. “I just found out the job grew on me. And as my wife often reminds me, I have one of the best jobs in the world.”
No part-time night law school had ever created a student-run law review, but Steenson quickly began that project when he joined the faculty. The first edition was published in 1974; he remains faculty advisor to this day.
Steenson has taught a dozen different courses to thousands of students over the years – including Torts, which he still teaches. He is a prolific writer and scholar and a much called-upon expert on constitutional law and many aspects of Minnesota statutes and case law. He offers a popular CLE every year with Professor Mehmet Konar-Steenberg reviewing the most recent term of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This honorary degree is just the latest way for us to thank Mike for an incredible half century of service,” said President and Dean Anthony Niedwiecki. “Mitchell Hamline wouldn’t be Mitchell Hamline without all he’s done and continues to do.
“He’s a thoughtful colleague who works as hard as anyone I’ve ever met, and we’re beyond grateful.”
During his remarks, Steenson thanked his faculty and staff colleagues, along with his family for supporting him during his time at William Mitchell and Mitchell Hamline. “Most of all, I want to thank the students. You’ve always, always been my inspiration.
“It’s been an absolute privilege to be associated with you over the years.”
Watch the presentation of the honorary degree and Steenson’s remarks below.
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