USD Law Professor Recipient of Cutler and McKusick Awards

Chris Hutton, professor of law at the University of South Dakota School of Law, has been named the recipient of the 2015 Cutler Award for Excellence in Legal Education and will receive a $5,000 prize through the USD Foundation. This is the second year in a row she received the honor that's part of the prestigious Richard and Sharon Cutler Faculty Awards in Liberal Arts. Hutton also won the 2015 McKusick award.

Hutton has taught at USD since 1984, primarily in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure and evidence. Among the products of her research is her most recent co-authorship of “South Dakota Evidence,” 2nd Edition with John Larson published in 2013. In addition, Hutton has been an active contributor to the legal practice in the state, including providing annual training to the judiciary, chairing the evidence committee of the state bar and being appointed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard to the Criminal Justice Advisory Council. The primary focus of Hutton’s work, however, has been teaching and mentoring generations of law students, with particular emphasis on supporting and expanding the role of women in the law.

“It has been a joy to work with the students and faculty here at the law school for over 30 years. Faculty members strive not only to foster students’ knowledge of the law but also their commitment to justice, dedication to public service, strong work ethic and high ethical standards,” Hutton said. “It is gratifying to see my former students incorporate these ideals into their work.”

Tom Geu, dean of the law school, said the Cutler Law Firm in Sioux Falls established the award for excellence in teaching last year through a generous endowed gift. It is presented annually to a full-time USD Law School professor whose research, service and mentorship generally benefit the legal practice in South Dakota.

"Professor Hutton continues to be involved in numerous areas of service to the South Dakota legal community and has an unwavering dedication to our law students,” he said. “She is a wonderful choice to receive this award and continues to be an integral part of the law school and South Dakota legal communities.”

Hutton also received the McKusick award from the Student Bar Association of the University of South Dakota School of Law, which recognizes an outstanding member of the South Dakota Bar for contributions to the legal profession. The award is named in honor of Marshall M. McKusick, who served the legal profession and the law school for nearly five decades.


USD’s School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Michael Ewald
USD News