Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia will bestow one of its highest honors on Paul M. Kurtz, retired associate dean and professor in the UGA School of Law, during Founders Day activities on Jan. 23.
The President’s Medal recognizes extraordinary contributions of individuals who are not current employees of UGA and who have supported students and academic programs, advanced research and inspired community leaders to enhance the quality of life of citizens in Georgia.
“Paul Kurtz is among the most respected faculty members to have served the University, and he is renowned nationwide for his legal expertise and leadership still today,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “We are pleased to recognize his many contributions to strengthening the academic mission of this University and improving the legal system in our state and nation.”
Kurtz was a faculty member at the School of Law from 1975 until his retirement in 2013, specializing in criminal law and family law. He served as the law school’s associate dean from 1991 until 2013 and was named the J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law in 1994.
Active in law school and university affairs throughout his career, Kurtz was elected by colleagues to three terms of service on the University Council as well as two terms on the board of the Georgia Athletic Association. He is chairing the American Bar Association-Association of American Law Schools Accreditation Site Inspection of the Indiana University-Indianapolis Law School. Kurtz earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from Vanderbilt University and his Master of Laws from Harvard University.
As associate dean for academic and student affairs, Kurtz supervised the law school’s academic program and curriculum. Kurtz’s scholarship includes two books, “Family Law: Cases, Text, Problems 5th Edition” (with professors Ira Ellman, Lois Weithorn, Brian Bix, Karen Czapanskiy and Maxine Eichner) and “Criminal Offenses and Defenses in Georgia.” He also served as associate editor and a board of editors member for the Family Law Quarterly.
Active in legislative issues, Kurtz served as reporter for the Georgia Supreme Court’s Indigent Defense Reform Commission (2000-03), which was the driving force behind landmark legislation enacted in 2003. He served from 2003 to 2009 (by appointment from Chief Judge J.D. Smith of the Georgia Court of Appeals) on the 11-member Public Defender Standards Council, with responsibility for delivering indigent criminal defense services within the state’s criminal justice system. He also was a member of the Public Interest Loan Repayment Task Force that wrote legislation creating a state fund for this cause, which was passed by the Georgia General Assembly in 2002.
In 2001, Kurtz was appointed as a commissioner by Governor Roy Barnes to represent Georgia on the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and he has been annually reappointed by Governors Sonny Perdue and Nathan Deal. He previously had served as a reporter for NCCUSL and was a member of the Drafting Committee of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act from 1988 to 1992. He also served as a reporter to the NCCUSL Drafting Committee on the Status of Children of Assisted Conception from 1987 to 1988. He served as chair of the drafting committees on the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (2009-12) and the Uniform Recognition and Enforcement of Canadian Domestic-Violence Protection Orders (2013-present).