HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A jury has awarded more than $12.6 million to a former chemistry professor who had filed a sex discrimination lawsuit after being denied tenure at Hartford's Trinity College.

The award may be the largest ever in a U.S. tenure case, education experts said.Leslie Craine, 55, was hired in 1987. She was given the unanimous recommendation of her department but was denied tenure in 1993. She sued and lost her job the following year.

The case went to trial in November in Hartford Superior Court. The jury issued its verdict Thursday.

Jurors rejected her claim of age discrimination but agreed with her on claims of sex discrimination and breach of contract. The award included $671,304 for loss of past and future wages, $2 million for sex discrimination, $4 million for emotional distress and $6 million in punitive damages.

"We asked the jury to send a message that it is not appropriate to treat women differently than men," said Jacques J. Parenteau, a lawyer for Craine.

A lawyer for the school, Felix J. Springer, said women make up about half of Trinity's faculty and one-third of its tenured faculty, "a record I suspect is among the best in New England." The school plans to appeal.

Jordan Kurland, associate general secretary of the American Association of University Professors in Washington, said courts traditionally have deferred to schools on tenure decisions. He said the jury award may be the largest of its kind.

Craine now teaches part time at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.