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USD Law professor inaugural recipient of Cutler & Donahoe Award for Excellence in Legal Education

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Chris Hutton, professor of law at the University of South Dakota School of Law, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Cutler & Donahoe Award for Excellence in Legal Education and will receive a $5,000 prize through the USD Foundation. It joins the prestigious Richard and Sharon Cutler Faculty Awards in Liberal Arts as significant contributions made by the Cutlers to honor outstanding USD faculty.

“I am very honored to be the first recipient and very grateful to the law firm for giving us a way to recognize our faculty. I think any of my colleagues would be great for it,” said Hutton.

Having arrived for the first time in South Dakota in 1984, Hutton has more than 30 years of service to USD Law, teaching primarily in the areas of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Evidence. Included amongst 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.

“We are very grateful to the Cutler & Donahoe Law Firm for its generosity and I find it particularly appropriate that Professor Hutton was selected as the first recipient,” said Dean Geu. “Her ongoing research, numerous areas of service to the South Dakota legal community and her unwavering dedication to our law students made her an excellent, if not obvious, choice.”

Download a photo of Hutton.

The newly created faculty award was made possible through a generous endowed gift from the Sioux Falls, S.D. law firm of Cutler & Donahoe, LLP. This award will be presented annually to a full-time USD Law School professor whose research, service and mentorship generally benefit legal practice in the State of South Dakota


USD’s Knudson 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 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News