The Pre-Law Advisors National Council (PLANC) selected The University of Texas-Pan American's very own Dr. Jerry Polinard, a political science professor and pre-law advisor, to receive the 2013 Gerald Lee Wilson Award for Excellence in Pre-Law Advising.
"I am very honored to receive this award, which was just inaugurated last year," said Polinard, who has worked with Wilson for 30 years to establish PLANC as a major contact body with the national Law School Admissions Council.
Polinard, who has taught at UTPA since 1972, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A&I, now Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and Ph.D. in government from the University of Arizona.
In 2012, Polinard was named Champion of the 7th Amendment by the Texas Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (TEX-ABOTA), and in 2010, he received the Minnie Stevens Piper Award, an honor recognizing him as one of the top college educators in the state of Texas.
Polinard is among three faculty members who oversee the Law School Preparation Institute (LSPI) at UT Pan American. Almost 240 students have participated in LSPI which will initiate its 13th summer program this year for a select group of students interested in a legal career to better prepare them to enter and succeed in law school. This intensive and rigorous program has outdone the national average of 60 percent by having 90 percent of its graduates be accepted into a law school.
Heather C. Struck, PLANC chair and longtime colleague of Polinard, praised his important role in advising students and young alumni who are not familiar with the legal profession, particularly first-generation students and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, under-represented minorities or whose families immigrated to the United States.
"Our country needs representation in the legal profession from all parts of our society. Programs like the Law School Preparation Institute at UTPA are so important to these students, and Jerry has played a key role in establishing and supervising the institute," she said.