- See also Wikipedia's article about "James Kent".
James Kent was Columbia's first professor of law. He taught from 1793 - 1798, well before there was a formal law school. By all accounts, James Kent was a godawful lecturer. The first year he offered law lectures, 42 Columbia College students attended. The second year, his enrollment had dropped to 2. The third year, enrollments dropped again to 0.
Kent Hall is named after him. Following his academic career, Kent was a legislator and state Supreme Court justice; the naming of the town of Summit, New Jersey is attributed to him.