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A 'Most Influential Person' is Designated a Collins Fellow 

Respected historian and educator Richard Hamm is recognized for the highest levels of institutional commitment and service.

Hamm is an expert on U.S. Constitutional history.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 28, 2016) – Legal historian Richard F. Hamm, a highly regarded teacher and expert on U.S. Constitutional history, has been named a 2016 Collins Fellow.

The Collins Fellowship recognizes members of the teaching faculty who have demonstrated extraordinary devotion to the University and the people in it over a sustained period of time.

Hamm, who has chaired the Department of History for the past nine years, is known as an excellent teacher, so thoroughly committed to his students that he takes great pains to learn each of their names. He keeps his office door open five days a week, seven hours a day, and he maintains contact throughout their undergraduate years and beyond. In his 26 years at UAlbany, he has gone to nearly every graduation ceremony.

He also spearheaded efforts to redesign the department’s advising system so that each student is now individually counseled by a tenured or tenure-track faculty member. Such attention to student needs has helped make history the major with the highest satisfaction levels in the University.

Hamm was the faculty co-founder in 1999 of the annual Researching New York Conference held at UAlbany and run by the department's graduate students. It is the only conference of its kind focusing on local New York State history.

Hamm was the selected speaker at Torch Night by the Class of 1996. He received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1997, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998, and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Disability Resource Center in 2012. He was given the “Most Influential Person” Honors College Student Award in 2013.

Hamm’s research interests are focused on the interaction of law and society in American history, especially the 19th and 20th centuries, with his scholarship on U.S. Constitutional history considered by peers to be of the highest caliber. He attends the American Society for Legal History’s annual conference when he can and his standing within that group has made him an ideal liaison for the new association between UAlbany and Albany Law School. His longstanding connections and collaborations with the faculty at Albany Law have paved the way for both a joint history MA/JD, which he designed, and a speaker series he organized this semester.

In the past year he has published one article and submitted five on U.S. legal history. An author of two books, his first, on Prohibition, is an acknowledged classic in the field. It has been widely cited in scholarship and has even appeared in Supreme Court opinions.

Among his colleagues, Hamm is known for his ability to build consensus, and to make informed and well-reasoned points without pressuring others.

The Collins Fellow is unique to UAlbany and intended to acknowledge the efforts of faculty who exemplify the highest levels of institutional commitment and service. The honor is named for Evan Revere Collins, president of the University from 1949 to 1969.

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