The Catholic University of America

 

 

 

Ralph Rohner (left) spent 50 years serving Catholic University's law school as professor, dean, development director, and visionary after his graduation from it in 1963. He retired in 2013. On Oct. 20 he was joined at a farewell reception by longtime friend and colleague, Professor Lou Barracato (center) and Dean Daniel Attridge.(Photos by Greg Stack and Joe Ferraro).

 

Faculty-in-Transition Reception Honors Career Milestones
for Eight Members of the Law School Community

 

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The timeless line from Ecclesiastes—to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun—was the unspoken coda to the Faculty-in-Transition Reception held at the law school on Oct. 20 in honor of eight long-time legal educators who have each chosen, in his or her own way, to chart a new path in 2013.
 
The five fulltime members of the faculty, joined by three part-time lecturers, represented a range of career “nexts.” Some look forward to a welcome retirement. Others plan to continue their association with the law school but in a different category or capacity.
 
Nearly 90 invited guests, friends, and family members gathered in the law school’s atrium on a brilliant fall afternoon to pay homage to a group of professors whose total years of service to the law school tally up to an astonishing 221.

“Collectively, their contributions to our law school are nothing short of amazing,” said Dean Daniel Attridge in his welcome remarks.

Each departing or transitioning professor was introduced by a colleague with remarks that were rich with memories, admiration and respect.
 
Professor Lou Barracato reminisced about meeting retiring Professor Ralph Rohner more than 50 years ago, when he was two years behind Rohner as a law student at Catholic University.
 
“He showed me what law school life should be like, with time for friends, sports and study. I’ve been following his advice and good judgment ever since,” said Barracato. 
 
Universally considered among the most beloved members of the CUA Law community, Rohner has served as dean and former acting director of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, among wearing many other hats over the years. Along with Professor Leah Wortham, he was the prime force behind the funding and construction of the law school building today and the fourth floor of the law school is named in his honor.
 
Rohner, in turn, introduced Professor Wortham, who is retiring from the faculty while continuing to direct the Columbus School of Law’s summer programs in Poland.
 
“Leah would be our candidate for the CUA Law Most Valuable Player Award,” said Rohner, while Wortham reminded the crowd that she isn’t done yet.
 
“It was time to leave my day job, but I’m still around,” she observed.

Professor Kathryn Kelly introduced Professor Steve Margeton, who is retiring after serving as director of the law school’s Kathryn J. DuFour Law Library since 1988. It was a big hire, as Kelly reminded the guests.
 
“It did not hurt our reputation to lure away the librarian of the Supreme Court of the United States,” she said. “I would like to thank Steve for his many years of contributions to the general welfare of the law school.”
 
Typical of the responses from all of the honorees, Margeton’ s response was humble in tone.  
 
“I stand before you because my staff really made me look good,” he said.

Retiring Professor Karla Simon was unable to attend the reception, but was warmly lauded by her longtime friend and colleague Professor George Smith, who reeled off a list of adjectives and come-to-mind phrases that best described her.
 
“Tenacious, pugnacious, trenchant wit, gifted teacher, perceptive cutting edge style, valued colleague and friend,” said Smith. “Happy trails, Karla, until we meet again.”
 
CUA Law alumna Maureen Donohue Feinroth, 1990, spoke about what it was like to clerk for the Hon. Fred B. Ugast, the law school’s longtime Judge-in-Residence, who taught part-time since his retirement from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in 1993. Ugast is now retiring from legal education.
 
Professor Sarah Duggin spent a few minutes recapping the contributions to the judiciary of the Hon. Sylvia Bacon, who nearly became the first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court.
 
Bacon was “a towering judicial presence in the courtroom. I thought she was seven feet tall!” recalled Duggin, who appeared in the diminutive judge’s courtroom early in her career. Like Ugast, Bacon served for many years on the DC Superior Court, and has concluded her service as a Distinguished Lecturer with the Columbus School of Law.   
 
Alumnus Edward H. Meyers, 2005, offered a short introduction for yet another retiring Distinguished Lecturer, the Hon. Loren A. Smith.
 
Smith chose to focus most of his remarks on the law school where he has happily taught since 1996.
 
“It’s the most human of all the law schools I’ve been associated with. It communicates warmth and community to students. It’s a unique characteristic of this law school.” Smith said.
 
A final, eloquent tribute to Professor George E. Garvey was offered by former dean and now Professor Veryl Miles. After serving in multiple administrative capacities for the past few years, including as acting dean, Garvey is enthusiastically returning to fulltime teaching. 
 
“He is truly a saint. He’s done all this with the respect and admiration of his colleagues, before and after the task is done,” said Miles. “Like St. George, all of his virtues represent the armor he wears every day.”
 
“Service for me has been an honor and pleasure,” Garvey responded.
 
As the two hour reception drew to a close, many guests lingered, understandably reluctant to accept the finality of the departure of some true giants of the faculty.
 
Looking back over his 50 years association with the law school, Professor Rohner once again said it best, simply and with feeling, speaking for everyone present.

“It’s been a marvelous, wonderful series of events and people. I could not be more grateful. I won’t forget you."



 
If you would like to make a tribute gift to the Annual Fund in honor of the faculty member that means so much to you please click here. Be sure to place the name of the individual(s) you wish to honor with your gift in the comments section of the online form. If you would like to mail a gift please address your check to "The Catholic University of America" (please designate the individual(s) you would like to honor in memo line) and mail to:

The Catholic University of America
Columbus School of Law
Department 4060
Washington, DC 20042-4060

Gifts can be made in honor of distinguished faculty through the end of the fiscal year (April 30, 2014). The honoree(s) will be notified that you have made a gift in their honor. If you have any questions about making a tribute gift, please contact
Annual Fund Coordinator, Lauren Enlow.