Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Angus McSwain-- Baylor Law Legend

Yesterday, the faculty and staff had a lunch for Dean Angus McSwain, who retired from teaching after a continuous run from 1949 through 2008-- a total of 59 years. He was dean of Baylor Law for nearly twenty years, and during that time continued to teach property to every student in the school. In more recent years, he was our jurisprudence professor. All told, he graded over 10,000 exams. Crikeys.

All those numbers, though, don't mean much to those who know Angus McSwain. He is a gentle and straightforward man who loves this place, and who made it his life's work. When I speak at a CLE somewhere out of town, I am often approached by former students of Dean McSwain's who remember him with great fondness-- often, he is the professor they remember best. Then they tell a story about him, and these stories always describe a person who is both greatly respected yet profoundly human, and who truly loved what he did. As legacies of our work go, I'm not sure there is much better than that.

There are some great Dean McSwain stories-- he would call on people in the order they sat in, which led to some great moments.
Despite some cheeky remarks toward CLS, I loved the Jurisprudence class. I'd like to have more philosophy classes available, in general, because of how much I enjoyed Dean McSwain's class.
When I was in Brownwood and trying to decide where to go to law school, one of the judges would tell me a new McSwain story every time I saw him. It won me over. Maybe if USN&WR knew about McSwain . . .
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