Jack Donnelly, human rights professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, describes his work as "not impractical." He also calls himself "very theoretical," says that his work "makes a lot of sense," and that he's "having an immense amount of fun."
Not impractical, theoretical, sensible, fun. In a nutshell, those qualities seem to make Donnelly tick.
He uses those same adjectives to describe his studies of Homeric Greece, his recent tennis lessons, his new excitement over human rights in China circa 1200 B.C. and even the most "not impractical" endeavor of his life: tackling fatherhood at the age of 59.
"It'll be interesting," Donnelly says of fatherhood, a role he will embrace in early February 2011 when his wife, Katayoun Azizpour Donnelly, is due to give birth. "It will be fun. It will keep me young or it will kill me, and I think it will keep me young."
Donnelly, who was awarded the John Evans Professorship and DU's 2010 Convocation, is largely considered both a pioneer of and ongoing international expert in the study of human rights. It all began in the 1970s when he tackled the topic for his dissertation as a PhD student at the University of California-Berkeley.
And, he says, "I never looked back."