Remembering Herma Hill Kay

Herma Hill Kay
Herma Hill Kay

Berkeley Law Professor and former dean Herma Hill Kay, an iconic pioneer among women in the law, passed away Saturday, June 10, 2017.

Kay, who taught at Berkeley Law for 57 years, wrote seminal works on sex-based discrimination, family law, conflict of laws, and diversity in legal education. A powerful advocate for equality in legal education and for women’s rights under the law, she also published numerous articles and book chapters on subjects including divorce, adoption, and reproductive rights.

In 1960, Kay became just the second woman to join the Berkeley Law faculty—hired when the first, Barbara Armstrong, announced plans to retire. During Kay’s tenure, the number of women students increased from a small handful to more than 50 percent of the class, and the number of women faculty grew exponentially.

She became the school’s first woman dean in 1992, serving for eight years. Despite facing severe budget restrictions and the 1996 passage of a California law barring public institutions from recruitment based on affirmative action, Berkeley Law thrived during her tenure with significant expansions to its curriculum, faculty, and clinical program.

Read more about Herma Hill Kay here.

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