2012 Alumni Award Winner
For James R. Holbrook ’66, negotiation is a tool to increase understanding, facilitate healing, and encourage communication between people and groups.
After majoring in philosophy at Grinnell, he earned a master’s degree in the history and philosophy of science from Indiana University. In 1969, he spent a difficult year in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and was awarded a Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for Valor. The experience had a profound impact on him, and when he returned, he went to law school at the University of Utah. He hoped to find a way to make the world a better place.
He spent two years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and more than a quarter century as a practicing attorney in Salt Lake City. An exceptional negotiator, he mediated hundreds of disputes involving everything from civil rights to the environment. He began teaching alternative dispute resolution classes at the University of Utah in 1990. In 2002 he joined the school as a full-time professor.
He has taught negotiation and mediation skills at India law schools, to Afghan prosecutors, and to public school teachers. For his efforts, he has received awards from the International Academy of Mediators and the Utah Council on Conflict Resolution.
Grinnell is proud to honor James R. Holbrook ’66 for using his skills to find new ways to think about disagreements and better ways to solve problems.