Georgetown Law Appoints Professor Girardeau Spann to Denny Chair

November 29, 2012 —

Professor Girardeau Spann Professor Girardeau Spann

Georgetown University Law Center Dean William M. Treanor is pleased to announce the appointment of Georgetown Law Professor Girardeau Spann to the James and Catherine Denny Endowed Chair.  Spann will be formally installed in a ceremony at the Law Center on December 5.   

“Gerry Spann is deeply admired by his colleagues and beloved by his students. This is a well-deserved honor, and I know it is particularly meaningful for Gerry to follow in the footsteps of his friend and colleague, Steve Goldberg,” said Treanor. “We remain grateful to James Denny and his wife, Catherine, for their generosity in endowing this Chair.” 

Spann succeeds the late Georgetown Law Professor Steven Goldberg as holder of the Denny Chair. Goldberg, who was appointed to the Chair in 2009, died in 2010. 

Spann served as a staff attorney for the Public Citizen Litigation Group before joining the Law Center faculty in 1979. He is an expert in constitutional law, contracts and torts and is the author of several books concerning race and the constitutional concept of equality.

Spann is currently a member of the American Law Institute. He has served on the board of the D.C. Neighborhood Legal Services Program, as a trustee of the D.C. Bar Client Security Fund and as a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States. He also served on the board of governors and the Ethics Committee of the D.C. Bar.

The James and Catherine Denny Endowed Chair was established with a gift by James Denny, a member of the Georgetown Law class of 1960 and a former member of the Georgetown University board of directors, and his wife, Catherine. 

James Denny practiced law in New York and Paris for several years before becoming involved in financial and general corporate management.  He served as a senior corporate executive for three Fortune 500 companies and as a director on a number of prominent corporate boards.  

Denny is currently independent lead director of Gilead Sciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company whose major product is a leading therapy for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Denny has served on the boards of several Catholic colleges and universities, as chair for a major Chicago hospital and as a vice chair of the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  He is a currently a director of the Catholic Theological Union and the Catholic Church Extension Society and a life trustee of DePaul University.

Catherine Denny has been active in numerous charitable organizations.  She is currently a director of the newly founded Chicago Jesuit Academy and is a former member of the board of St. Thomas University.  She is a graduate of Trinity College, the University of Minnesota and the Harvard Radcliffe program in business administration.