A Dean of Distinction: University of North Carolina Bestows Martin Brinkley With Highest Professor Honor

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has named Smith Anderson attorney Martin Brinkley, the dean of UNC School of Law, a William Rand Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor.

"Dean Brinkley joins a highly select group of faculty members receiving this extremely prestigious award," Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Robert Blouin said in their letter of appointment of Martin as a Distinguished Professor. "The award provides the largest stipend and research fund of any University Distinguished Professorship. It represents the highest honor that can be offered by us and demonstrates the high regard we have for Dean Brinkley’s accomplishments and contributions."  

The William Rand Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professorships are University chairs granted directly by the Chancellor and the Provost. The Kenan professorships were endowed by The William Rand Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust in 1966, with funds given via a bequest in the will of Kenan, an 1894 graduate of UNC and renowned American chemist and engineer. There are 131 William Rand Kenan, Jr. professorships at 56 American colleges and universities. The greatest number - 25 - is at UNC. The honor includes salary and research money that extend to its recipients for the entirety of their professorships.

Martin teaches a transition-to-practice course on mergers and acquisitions at UNC School of Law. He was a partner at Smith Anderson for 12 years when becoming the 14th dean of the UNC School of Law in 2015 and has remained associated with Smith Anderson as Of Counsel while serving the University and the Law School. Martin is the only lawyer in the modern history of the law school to be appointed to the deanship from the practicing bar.

"I feel deeply honored and humbled to be among the University’s William Rand Kenan Jr. professors," Martin said. "Some of my beloved teachers and mentors have been Kenan professors at Carolina – Bill Aycock, John Orth and Paul Haskell. To serve the university and our law school in their shadow is the privilege of a lifetime."  

Martin, a 1992 graduate of UNC School of Law, practices in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, insurance and regulatory matters, public finance and nonprofit organizations. He has served as primary outside counsel to clients in the distribution, food and beverage and insurance industries.


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