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May 16, 2005

Question for Professors

Now that I'm (almost) at the end of law school, there are a few professors I'd really like to thank. It's not every professor that gave me a good grade, and even one who gave me a mediocre grade. But their classes were inspiring and their support and feedback outside of class were very valuable.

What is an appropriate way to thank them? I can certainly manage a nice hand-written note, but would a small gift be alright? If so, what sort of gift?

Anyone who has experience on this, please feel free to chime in. I know there are a few profs who have deigned to read these pages. Professors Goldman and Yin, I'm looking at you guys here. Help a grateful 3L out.

UPDATE: Both Professor Goldman and Professor Yin have been kind enough to share their thoughts on the matter. Check the comments/trackbacks. (Side note: That was pretty cool. I called both of them out for help, and they both did. My website works like my own personal bat signal. Sweet.)

Posted by buddha at May 16, 2005 01:44 PM

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My buddy Dan, a graduating 3L from Georgetown (congrats, Dan!), asks a tough question: If a grateful student wants to... [Read More]

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Tracked on July 22, 2005 04:31 PM

Comments

Slightly different scenario, but still germane: I thanked one of the professors who wrote a recommendation for me by giving him a (modestly, modestly priced) bottle of wine. Granted, I used to work in his department and we were friendly, which is why I took his class in the first place, so the situation was a little more intimate. Still, I do think it's quite appropriate to give a small gift to special faculty, now that classes are over and (presumably?) grades are in.

Ideas: a small plant if they have plants in their offices, some fine chocolate candies, a small book of poetry or other reading material that you think they might enjoy. A small print or framed postcard you like. Basically, make the gift something low-cost but thoughtful, as a sign of gratitude.

Posted by: kristine at May 16, 2005 02:41 PM

It's a pfairly similar scenario, actually. Of the three I have in mind, two wrote recommendations, and the third offered to do so.

Classes are over. Grades are due by Friday (though I haven't had classes with two of the three this year, so that's not really an issue). I expect I'd drop the gifts off next week after graduation.

I was thinking of wine, but I'm fairly confident that the profs in question know more about it and have better taste than I do. One I'm thinking of a sixer of good beer, as I know he enjoys it. (Annual trips to Munich to "lecture", conveniently timed around Oktoberfest are a good indication. That and the fact that he told us during the first post-Oktoberfest lecture that he was still hungover).

Posted by: buddha at May 16, 2005 03:17 PM

The beer for the Oktoberfesting prof sounds like a good call, in the same vein as the wine I gave as a gift—it was one my husband and I discovered in Tuscany, where we stayed at a hotel this particular prof had recommended.

In other words, don't worry about picking something fantastic, pick something you think is special for whatever reason (even something you think is special because it's just a good bargain!), and don't worry about whether or not they know more about it than you do. What did my mom used to say? "It's the thought that counts."

Posted by: kristine at May 16, 2005 10:34 PM

Some schools have limits on the value of gifts that can be given to us, though those limits may be limited to current students. My Con Law class last year gave us a new onesie for the baby, and my RA gave me a "civil liberties" mug (it's got the Bill of Rights on it; pour in something hot and parts of it disappears), and I think those are okay.

But quite honestly, a written acknowledgment means just as much. I got a card yesterday from a former student (an '04 grad) who had very nice things to say, and that is the sort of thing that really makes my day.

Posted by: Tung Yin at May 17, 2005 01:15 PM

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