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Ron Rotunda

Ron Rotunda

Legal scholar, professor | Died in March 2018

Anytime the late Ronald Rotunda entertained out-of-town guests, the campus tour always started at the same site: the Morrow Plots.

"It is a magnificent comment on the patience of man, the oldest experimental agricultural field in the United States," dating to 1876, said the former UI law professor, who passed away on March 14, 2018 in Orange, Calif., where he'd been teaching teaching law at Chapman University

Months before his death, he spoke fondly about all of his favorite campus spots — including the Law School Library. "I was amazed at the collection, almost as extensive as Harvard Law’s collection, but — unlike Harvard — much easier to access because of the open Stacks

"Because faculty had library keys, I could access it any time of day or night. In the era before computer-assisted research, this access was essential. Universities are like factories, creating a product — knowledge, through the professors writing and experiments; distributing it — graduating students who go on to employment and spread this knowledge; and preserving it — in the libraries. 

"The library is a proud possession of the law school.

“Finally, when I think of the University of Illinois, I think of the faculty, students and graduates. There is a story about Dwight D. Eisenhower, when he was president of Columbia University. He addressed the assembled faculty and welcomed ‘the employees of Columbia University.’

"One of the professors responded, ‘Mr. President, we are not the employees of this university, we are Columbia University.’

“And so it is with the University of Illinois. The faculty, students, and alumni of the university are the university; they are what makes it a great institution.”