Law Professor A.E. Dick Howard Named Among Greatest 20th-Century Virginians

January 04, 2008

A Richmond Times-Dispatch and Library of Virginia survey has listed University of Virginia law professor A.E. Dick Howard among the greatest and most influential Virginians of the 20th century.

The newspaper's editorial staff sent a questionnaire across the nation to historians and prominent citizens who study Virginia and its people. A committee then examined the results and further winnowed down selections.

Howard was singled out for authoring Virginia's current constitution and "is recognized as one of the nation's premier constitutional lawyers and scholars," wrote Brent Tarter, a historian and editor with the Library of Virginia.

"A legendary professor in Charlottesville, Howard has also spent much time advising emerging democracies around the globe about how to write their own constitutions. These countries include Brazil, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Albania, Malawi, and South Africa. The structure of democracy was invented by Orange County's James Madison, and it is fitting that neighboring Albemarle's Howard continues the tradition," he wrote.

The committee named civil rights attorney Oliver W. Hill Sr. at "the greatest" Virginian of the 20th century, while former U.S. senator and Virginia governor Harry F. Byrd Sr. was deemed "most influential."

Other honored Virginians include President Woodrow Wilson; Gen. George C. Marshall, author of the Marshall Plan; country music's The Carter Family; Lewis F. Powell, the only Virginian to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States since the 1850s; former Richmond News Leader editorial cartoonist Jeff MacNelly; Walter Reed, the physician who discovered that mosquitoes were responsible for spreading yellow fever; author Tom Wolfe; and Frank Robert Rowlett, founder of the army's signal intelligence service and former chief of the National Security Agency's cryptology school.