Professor Alain Levasseur Receives Honorary Doctorate


Left photo: Professor Alain Levasseur speaks following the acceptance of his Docteur Honoris Causas—an honorary doctorate—given by the Universite’ Pantheon-Assas Paris II.

Top photo: Professor Alain Levasseur receives his honorary doctorate from Professor Louis Vogel, President of the University.

Bottom photo: Honorees and guests, including Professor Alain Levasseur, gather at the Sorbonne on January 29.


LSU Law Professor Alain A. Levasseur, the Jean Monnet Professor of European Community Law and the Hermann Moyse, Sr. Professor of Law, has received the title of Docteur Honoris Causas—an honorary doctorate—from the Universite’ Pantheon-Assas Paris II. He was honored on January 29 during ceremonies held in the Grand Amphitheatre of the Sorbonne.

Professor Levasseur, along with eight other scholars from institutions throughout the world, received their diplomas, medals, and honor stoles amid all the pomp and circumstance that even Shakespeare couldn’t imagine.

The distinguished honorees were recognized for teaching and research in private law, public law, history of law, economics, management, information and communication in formal ceremonies that included Patrick Gerard, Recteur and Chancellor of the Paris Academy, and Professor Louis Vogel, President of the Universite’ of Paris-Pantheon, along with other dignitaries and guests.

Other honorees were Vassilios Skouris, President and Chief Justice of the European Court of Justice (Luxemburg); Professor Umberto Eco, Universite’ de Bologne (Italy); Recteur and Professor Fernando Hinestrosa, Universite’ Externado de Bogota (Columbia); Professor Jeffrey Jowell, University College, London (Great Britain); Professor Charles Donahue, Jr., Harvard (USA); Professor Paolo Spada, Universite’ de Rome La Sapienza (Italy); Professor Jacques-Francois Thisse, Universite’ catholique de Louvain (Belgium); and, Professor Donald C. Hambrick, Pennsylvania State University (USA).

“I take great pride in having acted [and] spoken on behalf of the Law Center in the past 30 years and to have brought to the same Law Center such recognition. I could not have done it, however, without the support of the chancellors and the staff of the Law Center,” said Professor Levasseur. 

He has written and published in various areas including Legal Traditions, particularly Civil Law Systems; the Civil Law of Obligations; Comparative Law of Contracts; Comparative Aspects of the European Union and U.S. Law; EU/EC Law; International Trade; Louisiana Sale/Lease; and, Quasi-Contracts.

The professor and his wife, Susan, were hosted to three full days of activities, compliments of the University. “The formal ceremony was regal,” he recalled. “It was a big day of speeches, music, presentations, and celebrations.”

The awards are made every 10 years, making the entire selection process all the more special for the honorees and the institutions they represent. The honorees are nominated by their peers, with the final selection made by President Louis Vogel of the University. The recommendations are then forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a formal governmental decree is issued to announce the honorees. 

Professor Levasseur’s interest in foreign affairs is rooted in his early childhood. As the son of the French Ambassador to Columbia and later to Spain, Levasseur lived in Spain, Morocco, Brazil, and Canada. “I stopped following my parents at some point,” he said.  He later found his calling in the study and practice of the civil law. Professor Levasseur joined the LSU Law Center faculty in 1977.

In 1966, Professor Levasseur obtained an M.C.L. from Tulane University where he returned to teach in 1968. In 1969, he was an associate with the Paris firm of Mudge, Rose, Guthrie & Alexander but left the firm to become a technical assistant at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. In the fall of 1970, he resumed teaching at Tulane until 1977. In 1993, he received the prestigious “médaille” from the Université d’Aix-Marseille III, and in 1998, he was bestowed the degree of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa. He maintains an active membership in the International Academy of Comparative Law, the American Association for the Comparative Study of Law, the Société de Législation Comparée, the Association Henri Capitant, and the International Association of Legal Methodology.

He credits the Association Henri Capitant for bringing Louisiana back into the fold of Civil Law. “The image of Louisiana has been fantastic, and particularly at LSU. We’ve gained a lot of prestige with 30 years of Henri Capitant …we are the only civil jurisdiction that writes in English.”

Professor Levasseur is a member of several boards, including the Fondation pour le Droit Continental, the Revue Internationale de Droit Comparé, E-Competition, the Revue Trimestrielle de Droit Civil, El Foro de Derecho Mercantil, the American Journal of Comparative Law, and the LSU Center for French and Francophone Studies.