Four-time UF Law Professor of the Year makes it five
tritt By Kelcee Griffis (4JM)
For the fifth consecutive year, UF Law Professor Lee-Ford Tritt swept the nominations for Professor of the Year for 2012-2013, surprising hardly anyone at the April John Marshall Bar Association spring formal where it was announced.
Although only one nomination is needed to put a professor in the race, JMBA President and third-year law student Brett Williams said Tritt received about 15 nominations from students and student votes on the nomination were overwhelming.
“It’s really startling so many people love him so much,” Williams said.
But for Tritt, the relationship is a two-way street.
“It has been the honor and joy of my life to teach UF Law students. It’s a privilege teaching them,” Tritt wrote in an email. “I am very humbled and overwhelmed by the students’ acknowledgment. The award inspires me to work harder and continue thinking of innovative ways to teach the materials. I am very thankful to the students for thinking of me.”
Williams said it’s common to find phrases written in the nominations forms such as “cares so much about students” and “makes a very difficult subject easy for everyone.”
“I don’t know him as professor. I just know him from campus,” Williams said. “But we still have a good relationship, and he does that with all the students.”
Tritt checks in with students to see how they’re doing and tries to connect with students who are struggling.
“He takes an interest in students. He introduces himself. He makes himself available,” Williams said.
Students often say Tritt’s classes are inspiring.
“He takes that weight off of people’s shoulders,” Williams said.
For Tritt, who teaches courses in wills, estate planning and property succession, and is director of the Center for Estate Planning and the Estates & Trusts Practice Certificate Program, the award is also a result of being surrounded by outstanding colleagues and professors.
“I was able to learn classroom skills from exceptional teachers like Joe Little, Diane Mazur, Dennis Calfee, and many more,” he said. “Our young crop of professors keep me on my toes. In fact, these fantastic professors must split the vote, and I just simply slip between them.”
But Williams said Tritt’s unassuming attitude is also characteristic.
“Every year, he gets nominated, and he wins,” he said. “He’s a humble guy.”