Maine Law mourns passing of former Dean Donald Zillman

Maine Law and the entire University of Maine System are mourning the passing of Donald Zillman, who died last week in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the age of 79.

Zillman served the UMaine System in a variety of roles, beginning as Dean of Maine Law in 1991 and ending his term in 1998. Until his ultimate retirement in 2019, Zillman also held the position of the Edward Godfrey Professor of Law and served in several leadership positions in the University.

Donald Zillman

Zillman’s legal scholarship encompassed energy, military, and tort law as well as legal writing. He published more than 50 articles and 15 books. Within the legal community, he is well known for his update of the Maine Tort Law treatise and is more widely recognized for his book Living the World War: A Weekly Exploration of the American Experience in World War I.

“Don reached out to welcome me as soon as I arrived at Maine Law, and his love of the Law School was immediately evident,” current Maine Law Dean and President Leigh Saufley said. “He and I corresponded often about changes and improvements at Maine Law. His enthusiastic and positive support was a gift to me personally as we all struggled through COVID.”

After his role in leadership at Maine Law, Zillman served in a variety of administrative positions throughout the system, including as President of the University of Maine at Presque Isle from 2006-2012. Current UMPI President Ray Rice said Zillman was known for his compassionate and thoughtful leadership at the campus.

“As Dean at Maine Law, Don Zillman championed justice, excellence in scholarship and teaching, and all things Maine. His warm personal support for the Deans and faculty that followed him has been invaluable. We are grateful for his leadership.  He will be missed,” Saufley added.