Class of 2020 Presents Teaching Award and Introduces New Staff Excellence Award

May 15, 2020

Since 1967, UNC School of Law’s graduating class has selected a member of the faculty to receive the Frederick B. McCall Award for Teaching Excellence in recognition for outstanding teaching. The award is named for Frederick B. McCall, who served on the Carolina Law faculty for more than 40 years. He was an outstanding scholar of property and estates law, a tireless contributor to the North Carolina General Statutes Commission, and a celebrated teacher. Upon his retirement in 1967, students established the McCall Award which is typically given at Commencement.

John Orth
John V. Orth

This year’s recipient of the McCall Award is John V. Orth, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Law. Orth joined the faculty in 1978 and teaches first-year Property, Trusts & Estates, and Legal History. Orth is the author of six books, three of them published by Oxford University Press, and 90 articles and book chapters. His writings cover a wide array of topics including labor law, constitutional law (both federal and state), legal history, wills and trusts, and basic property law. His works have been cited by federal and state courts, including the United States Supreme Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Orth received his law degree from the Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. After completing his studies, he clerked for Judge John Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

“Although there were many deserving nominees, anyone familiar with Professor Orth will agree that this award fits better than one of his finest three-piece suits,” said Sam Spalding ’20, vice president of the 2019-2020 Student Bar Association. “His steady hand and gentle guidance were on full display this year during the shift to remote learning, when a first-year student’s Twitter post about Professor Orth’s lecture reached millions of people. Professor Orth is a priceless gem, and one of our greatest treasures. We are thankful to have learned from him.”

The Class of 2020 also created the inaugural Carolina Law Staff Excellence Award to recognize the outstanding service and great work of one law school staff member. Moving forward, the recipient will receive this award at Commencement.

Fredia Banks-Marsh

The first recipient of the Staff Excellence Award is Fredia Banks-Marsh, assistant human resources director. Banks-Marsh joined the law school in 2008. Known for her dedication, commitment to students and service, she is considered a beloved one-person student support system. From greeting students in the hallway during class changes, to serving as a sounding board and shoulder to lean on, Banks-Marsh is a consistent, vibrant and supportive presence at the law school for students, staff and faculty.

“Photographs of past and present students cover the walls of her office,” says Mary-Rose Papandrea, professor and associate dean for academic affairs. “She doesn’t have to play such an important role in our students’ lives, but they naturally gravitate to her big smile, warm presence, and general kindness.”