News

Professor Tom Ward assumes emeritus status at Maine Law

May 8, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine – A valued colleague and friend for almost four decades, Professor Thomas Ward has assumed professor emeritus status at the University of Maine School of Law, after teaching his final courses in the fall semester.

Professor Ward joined the faculty in 1976 after private practice in Vermont and law teaching at the University of South Carolina. Deeply committed to his students and home institution, he also has been an ambassador in the wider legal academy and legal profession, as a visiting law professor and lecturer at institutions throughout the U.S. and at the National University of Ireland at Galway. Professor Ward has published substantially and presented frequently in a range of topics spanning commercial law, bankruptcy and intellectual property.

“Tom has served Maine Law as an excellent teacher, a respected scholar, and a generous colleague,” said Dean Peter Pitegoff. “We will miss him at Maine Law – his energy, intelligence, creativity, judgment, commitment, warmth and voice. We wish him only the best in retirement.”

Here’s a recollection about Professor Ward, from his friend and colleague Professor Mel Zarr, originally published in the Fall 2013 edition of the Maine Law Magazine.

“Tom Ward should not be allowed to slide into retirement without someone memorializing the wallet affair.

“When Tom was up for his first reappointment in the late 1970s, his reappointment was one agenda item for a special faculty meeting held in the main conference room of the Cumberland Club. When the subject of Tom's reappointment came up, he of course left the room. Thereupon a discussion lasting no more than a minute ensued, followed by a predictably unanimous vote. Then the discussion turned to the momentous issue that had caused us to hold the meeting outside our building. While I can't remember what it was, it caused considerable controversy. Voices were raised. Volleys of argument and counter-argument thundered across the room.

“Then, during a lull in the action, someone noticed a wallet on the table, and it slowly dawned on the assemblage that it was Tom's. No one had thought to retrieve Tom. Meanwhile, Tom had been outside the room, pacing back and forth, becoming increasingly concerned as the voices inside rose. He considered calling Carol to advise her to start packing.

“The wallet affair is an epigraph for Tom's career at the Law School. His masterful teaching has been accepted as a given. Tom's important scholarship has been greeted as something entirely expected. Whenever the school has needed a tough job done, Tom has been ready and willing to undertake it.

“The Law School does not appreciate how much it will miss Tom. Yet it will soon enough.”

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Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: trevor.maxwell@maine.edu

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