Graduate Profile: Megan Gannon, L’24

Student finds balance between art and law

Megan Gannon

When Megan Gannon began her journey at Green Hall, studying art law felt like a dream, but as she is about to graduate, she reflects on how her dream became a reality.

Gannon has always loved art. “There is something about getting lost in a work of art that reminds of you what it means to be human,” said Gannon.

In speaking about her favorite works of art, Gannon said “it is a difficult choice, I do not have one period or genre I lean towards.” Although her current favorite work on display at the University of Kansas, Spencer Museum of Art is Navigating by Lisa Grossman. “You can see this work from across the room and it draws you to it, inviting you to take a moment and let the water wash over you.” 

“Studying art helped me better understand law,” said Gannon.

Gannon graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Denver in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Art History and minors in German and Leadership Studies.

A class in her freshman year planted the seed that would eventually lead her to KU Law.

“I was exposed to art law through a seminar class where we looked at art in the law and I found it really interesting,” said Gannon. “As I progressed through my Art History degree, I always kept coming back to art issues that ran up against legal issues.”

KU Law gave Gannon the opportunity to explore her interest of art law. With the guidance of professors and her own experiences, Gannon’s journey into art law flourished into exciting career opportunities.

As a law student, Gannon worked as a Research Assistant to Professor Michael Hoeflich, was Symposium Editor of the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy, and the KU Office of the General Counsel’s Legal Extern to the Spencer Museum of Art. She also pursued a certificate in International Trade and Finance. Professors like Raj Bhala, John Head and Andrew Torrance helped Gannon make more connections between art and law in their classes.

Her classes on international trade, comparative law, and intellectual property helped her understand the domestic and international legal systems available for cultural heritage protection.

“I am passionate about the preservation and protection of cultural heritage,” said Gannon.

The 2024 Symposium Speakers, Dean Stephen Mazza, Gannon, and editor-in-chief Jackie Jeschke

True to her passions, Gannon planned a symposium entirely around art law. A Museum’s Purpose; Discussions of Art and Law in 2024 examined how legal and museum professionals work to navigate the complex issues found in the field of art law. The symposium featured speakers from across the country including Craig M. Blackwell from the Smithsonian Office of the General Counsel, Col. Scott DeJesse from the U.S. Department of Defense and many other notable presenters.

“Planning the Journal Symposium was an honor,” said Gannon. “I will remember the day for the rest of my life.”

Gannon looks back at her time on the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy fondly.

“All of the most important relationships in my life stem from Journal,” she said. “It gave me a place to grow and have a community in the law school.”

Another highlight of Gannon’s time at KU law was her externship with the KU Office of the General Counsel and the Spencer Museum of Art.

“My legal externship at the Spencer was, and still is, one my favorite things about my law school experience,” said Gannon. “This opportunity has changed my life.”

Gannon is excited to continue working with the KU Office of the General Counsel in her new role as the 2024-2026 Husch Blackwell Higher Education Law Fellow. This two-year fellowship is mark of distinction and paves the way to a wide range of opportunities for individuals interested in higher education.

This position will look at how the Office of General Counsel works with all aspects of the university, and Gannon is excited to be able to build upon what she has learned in her externship.  

This isn’t the first time a KU Law graduate has received the Husch Blackwell fellowship. Prior to Gannon, Marissa Hotujac, L’20, worked in the position for the 2020-2022 term. Hotujac is now an associate at Husch Blackwell.

When asked about how she saw art law fitting into higher education she said, “I don’t see art law as being separate from higher education law. Almost every university has an onsite gallery, museum, collection or a donation that’s an art object.” 

Not only has Gannon’s time at KU Law been a unique growing experience, but her time at the university itself has been special as well. Gannon has been excited to share the campus with her youngest brother, Tommy, who is currently majoring in accounting and expected to graduate in May 2025.

“I never thought I’d get to see my little brother on campus,” said Gannon with a smile. “We’re four years apart in age, so we never would have overlapped in school. Getting to do that at KU makes me love being a Jayhawk because it’s a really special shared experience that I get to have with him.”

As Gannon prepares to graduate, she offers these words of advice for those interested in pursuing a law degree.

“If you’re happy with what you’re doing, then your definition of success can be very different from the classmate sitting next to you and that’s okay. There is success for everyone in law school.”

And for students looking specifically at KU Law?

“It’s a wonderful place to be curious about the law.”

By Emma Herrman

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