Columbia University Honors Professor Henry Paul Monaghan With Faculty Mentoring Award

One of the nation’s preeminent scholars of constitutional law and federal courts is recognized for his extraordinary commitment to helping tenure-track and mid-career faculty grow as scholars and teachers.

Professor Henry P. Monaghan

Professor of Law Henry Paul Monaghan has been named one of two 2024 recipients of the Columbia University Faculty Mentoring Award, which honors senior faculty who demonstrate exceptional dedication to helping tenure-track and mid-career faculty in developing their careers.

Monaghan has inspired not only generations of faculty but also students and practitioners. Through his teaching and writing on constitutional law and federal courts, he has illuminated complex constitutional law and federal jurisdiction issues for scholars, lawyers, and Supreme Court justices alike.

“I am flattered to be honored as a mentor on a faculty that doesn’t need mentors,” says Monaghan, who plans to retire after the fall 2024 semester. “I have spent a lot of time on the work of my colleagues, and I’ve never regretted a moment of it.”

Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, extols Monaghan’s ability to spot and steward top academic talent. “He has doubtless launched the careers of more legal scholars and practitioners than any other member of our faculty during the past half-century,” she says. “Much like a renowned football coach whose assistants have gone on to lead teams of their own, Professor Monaghan’s mentees have gone on to occupy the topmost echelons of the legal world as judges, deans, professors, and practitioners.”

Since joining the faculty in 1984, Monaghan has played an instrumental role in enhancing Columbia Law School’s intellectual life. He helped develop the Center for Constitutional Governance, which provides a forum for academics, government officials, practitioners, students, and others to engage with the major constitutional and governance issues of the day. In 2009, the Law School hosted a symposium in his honor—cheekily titled “The View From the Curmudgeon’s Lair”—with panels on “Current Problems in Federal Courts” and “Constitutional Common Law Revisited.” In 2010, he received Columbia Law School’s highest honor, the Medal for Excellence.

Monaghan’s robust body of scholarship was recognized in 2017 by the Federal Courts Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), which selected him as a co-recipient of its inaugural Daniel J. Meltzer Award for his contributions in the field of federal courts. He has also been an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1988.

Gillian Metzger ’96, who holds the Harlan Fiske Stone professorship that Monaghan occupied for more than 30 years, says Monaghan is an “extraordinary” mentor. “I know this firsthand as the lucky beneficiary of Henry’s generous support and wisdom since my early days as a student at Columbia Law School,” she says. “I also know it as his faculty colleague over two decades, in which role I have seen Henry’s unending efforts on behalf of junior faculty members, fellows, and potential entrants to legal academe. Neither my academic career nor Columbia Law School would have been the same without his attentive ministrations. As a former winner of the Columbia Faculty Mentoring Award, I can’t think of a more deserving recipient than Henry.”

“Henry Monaghan is a giant who has pervasively influenced my thinking about the law and legal education,” says Associate Professor of Law Thomas P. Schmidt. “He has been an exceptionally generous mentor since the moment I joined Columbia Law School as an academic fellow. He routinely sets aside several hours to discuss draft articles that I am working on, and they always benefit from his input and guidance.”

Dean Lester says Monaghan is considered the “informal dean” of Columbia’s public law faculty and is unfailingly generous in supporting colleagues and postdoctoral  fellows. “Professor Monaghan’s name is ubiquitous in the acknowledgments and footnotes of our faculty’s publications,” she says. “In recent years, the Law School has hired several of the postdocs he mentored during their times as fellows … and continues to serve as their mentor and champion.”

Monaghan’s mentees also teach at law schools across the country. “The legal academy will continue to enjoy the fruits of his labor for decades to come,” says Dean Lester.