Director’s Letter – Fall 2013

Oct 16, 2013 | Stegner Center

On the eve of its 20th anniversary, the Wallace Stegner Center continues to extend its reach through its faculty, students, and supporters who have enabled us create a vibrant set of programs and activities. These accomplishments, in turn, have enabled the College of Law to pursue platinum level LEED-certification for the new law building, which will embody sustainability and environmental responsibility ideals that are central to the Stegner Center’s mission. When completed in 2015, the new law building will not only house an expanded Stegner Center office suite but will reflect the College’s commitment to the Center’s core message and values.

As recounted in the newsletter, the linkage between the Stegner Center and the new law building was underscored this past year when a key Stegner Center donor provided the College with a $4.5 million grant to ensure completion of various sustainability features in the new building, virtually ensuring that it will meet the rigorous LEED platinum standards. This generous gift culminated a multi-year relationship that had evolved through the Stegner Center’s programming activities; it acknowledges the important role the Center plays at the College and highlights the College’s overall commitment to environmental and natural resources law teaching, scholarship, and programming. It is a relationship and gift that Wallace Stegner would be proud to have associated with his legacy, which we are confident will only continue to grow once the new building is complete and we can utilize its many features to support the Center’s programs and activities. Among other things, we will be able to host Stegner Center events, including the annual symposium, in the new Moot Court room and conference facility on the sixth floor with stunning southerly views of the Wasatch Range and the Salt Lake valley. We can only say thank you once again to the Alternative Visions Fund of the Chicago Community Trust.

The Stegner Center’s faculty continues to be engaged in important leadership and scholarly roles. Most notably, Professor Bob Adler has added the title of Interim Dean to his many titles, which now also include University Distinguished Professor, and he is busier than ever overseeing the College as well as construction of the new building and funding for it. This year I have the honor of serving as President of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. Several new faculty-authored books have appeared during the past year, including one by Professor Robin Craig on Comparative Ocean Governance, one by me addressing the national park idea, and a water law casebook, co-edited by Bob Adler and Robin. Under the leadership of Professor Michele Straube, the Environmental Dispute Resolution program has further expanded its activities, as reflected in the program’s new Environmental Conflict Resolution class and ongoing collaborative processes. The Environmental Law clinic, under Adjunct Professor Jamie Pleune’s direction, continues to expand placement opportunities, ensuring students are exposed to cutting-edge legal and procedural issues. Center Fellow John Ruple has developed a thoughtful western land tenure reform research proposal designed to help facilitate federal-state land exchanges to improve resource management across the landscape. Further information about individual faculty activities and accomplishments can be found in the faculty update section of the newsletter.

The Center’s students have likewise garnered important recognition as they move ever closer to entering the legal profession. Doug Naftz, Brett Wiersum, Jason Steiert, and Shane Stroud each received recognition for research papers that they wrote as part of their coursework. Two students, Kevin Funkhouser and Doug Naftz, received Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Scholarships, while Scott Hutchins was awarded a David Williams Memorial Fellowship. John Robinson, Scott Hutchins, Haley Carmer, Melissa Reynolds, Doug Naftz, and Mark Capone were awarded scholarships offered through the Stegner Center. With generous outside support, we were able to send two student teams to moot court competitions at Pace University and West Virginia University, where they each performed at a high level.

Moreover, the Stegner Center has an exciting line-up of programs this year. The annual symposium, scheduled for March 27-28, 2014, will address the topic of “National Parks: Past, Present, and Future,” and the Director of the National Park Service will be delivering a keynote address as part of the program. Katrina Kuh joined the Stegner Center in September as our 9th annual young scholar and delivered a Young Scholar Lecture on “Toward a Theory of Environmental Privacy” and a Downtown CLE on “Climate Adaptation in Environmental Review.” Other program highlights include upcoming Stegner Lectures by Cynthia Barnett, author of Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis and Lucy Moore, mediator and author of Common Ground on Hostile Turf: Stories from an Environmental Mediator. The Stegner Center’s popular noon hour green bag series features a variety of local and regional speakers addressing a range of issues from sustainability and business to planning Utah’s water future.

Your support and participation in the Stegner Center’s programs and activities have been critical to the myriad successes recounted in this newsletter and others that we have enjoyed during the past 19 years. We look forward to your continued support and engagement with us. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.




Robert B. Keiter

Director, Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment 
Wallace Stegner Professor of Law
University Distinguished Professor