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Former U.S. Sen. Chambliss kicks off semester of political, legal insights at UGA

Saxby Chambliss law class-fall-15-h
Former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is teaching Political Leadership and the Law at the UGA School of Law this fall. Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA.

Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Camila Knowles to co-teach

Athens, Ga. – Students taking the course Political Leadership and the Law at the University of Georgia School of Law this semester are receiving firsthand insights into public service from former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss. He is co-teaching the class for the fall 2015 semester with his former chief of staff, Camila Knowles, who is now serving as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The first class was held today, Aug. 24.

Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said having Chambliss and Knowles teach a class addressing the intersection of the law and political leadership is a tremendous honor for Georgia Law. “In this class, our students will not only interact and learn directly from two accomplished public servants but they will have the opportunity to meet and have meaningful dialogue with other political leaders-such as Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal-who will be invited classroom guests,” he said. “There is no question that this class will be one of the highlights of a student’s academic career at Georgia Law-especially for those who are interested in pursuing a career in public service.”

Ashley M. Walker, a Georgia Law second-year student, said she is excited to be enrolled in the Political Leadership and the Law course. “Former Sen. Chambliss has been an influential figure in state and national politics, and I cannot wait to learn from his experiences,” she said.

Chambliss is serving as the law school’s Sanders Political Leadership Scholar, which is part of the university’s three-part Senator Saxby Chambliss Leadership Forum announced earlier this month.

Chambliss said he is honored to be returning to UGA as the law school’s Sanders Political Leadership Scholar. “I am looking forward to sharing my experience of 20 years in public service with tomorrow’s leaders,” he said. “The University of Georgia School of Law is one of the top law schools in America, and to have the opportunity to be a part of the faculty is very humbling.”

Knowles said she is excited and honored to join Chambliss in the classroom. “I look forward to a rewarding and robust dialogue with the bright law students who have an interest in public service law,” she said. “I hope this class may spark a desire for these future leading lawyers to seek a career in service of our state and our nation.”

Rutledge said having proven leaders, who have distinguished themselves in the public sector, teach law students with real examples of how the law and government truly work together is what the late Gov. Carl E. Sanders envisioned with the Sanders Political Leadership Scholar position. “Gov. Sanders truly cared about today’s law students getting an excellent, affordable legal education right here in the state of Georgia as well as having the opportunity to learn the true meaning of service,” he said.

Established in 2002, the Sanders Political Leadership Scholar position is named for Georgia’s 74th governor and 1948 Georgia Law alumnus, Carl E. Sanders. Previous Sanders Political Leadership Scholars who have taught a course at the law school include former U.S. Sen. J. Maxwell “Max” Cleland, former U.S. Sen. Wyche Fowler Jr., former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Poland Lee A. Feinstein, former U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Theodore “Ted” W. Kassinger, and former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox, among others.

Chambliss served two terms in the U.S. Senate and four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; and the Senate Rules Committee. He also served as vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Chambliss earned his bachelor’s degree from UGA and his law degree from the University of Tennessee.

Knowles was appointed as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs by Deal in 2015. Knowles first joined Chambliss’ team in 2003. Previously, she served as a legislative assistant and chief counsel for him in Washington, D.C., before moving to his Atlanta office as state director. She was named his chief of staff in 2013. Knowles earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude from Harvard University and her law degree from Georgetown University.

UGA School of Law
Consistently regarded as one of the nation’s top public law schools, Georgia Law was established in 1859. Its accomplished faculty includes authors of some of the country’s leading legal scholarship. The school offers three degrees – the Juris Doctor, the Master of Laws and the Master in the Study of Law – and is home to the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Georgia Law is proud of its long tradition of providing first-rate legal training for future leaders who will serve state and nation in both the public and private sectors. For more information, see