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2015 Spirit of Vassar Award: Linda Malone ’75

Linda Malone '75

Spirit of Vassar Award recipient Linda Malone ’75 has been helping fight the good fight, while teaching legions of future lawyers at the College of William & Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law.

Malone is known for her work on international human rights violations, international environmental law, and the public and international relationships between nations—all areas that have long held her interest.

“I was one of those who wanted to make the world a better place,” Malone says.

Growing up with a Middle Eastern grandfather, who taught her how to read, Malone learned to speak French and Arabic. She says it spurred her interest in international law.

In addition to writing numerous books and articles, Malone serves on the boards of several organizations and has worked on many international cases, acting as co-counsel to Bosnia-Herzegovina in its genocide case against Serbia and Montenegro before the World Court and co-counsel to Paraguay in its challenge of the death penalty in Paraguay v. Virginia.

After receiving her J.D. from Duke University, Malone earned a Master of Laws from the University of Illinois before practicing at firms in Chicago and Atlanta. Initially, Malone says, she figured she would work for the government or the nonprofit sector.

“It never even remotely crossed my mind to be a law professor,” she says.

But a few things led her in that direction. Malone realized she missed writing and started to enjoy public speaking. She also remembered fondly her days in law school. Malone decided to leave her law firm and spent more than three years at a judicial clerkship for the U.S. Court of Appeals, a requirement to become a law professor.

“Things can take some very interesting turns,” Malone says of her career trajectory, adding that being receptive to new things is good advice for members of the Class of 2015.

Teaching has led Malone to law schools across the United States and abroad, including the Ocean University in China and the University of Turin in Italy. Like an actor repeatedly performing a play, there’s always something new that happens that makes it special and unique, Malone notes. “I enjoy the classroom interaction. It’s never boring,” she says.

Added to that is her love of exploring other peoples and cultures, which her career has enabled.

“I’ve been lucky enough to travel a great deal,” Malone says.

She’ll be traveling to Poughkeepsie later this month to receive her Spirit of Vassar Award, which she says came as a complete surprise.

“I was extremely honored,” Malone says. “Awards and recognition like this are very much appreciated.”

—Debbie Swartz

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, May 29, 2015