Dean Richard Huber

 

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“Dick Huber was well-known for his warm, generous nature, his intellect and compassion, and his ability to bring out the best in everyone he touched.” ~ Dean Vincent Rougeau

Former dean and longtime faculty member Richard Huber passed away in 2011. He was 92 years old. Professor Huber began teaching at BC Law in 1957, served as dean from 1970-1985, and continued teaching for the school until retiring in 2005. He had a tremendous influence on BC Law as dean, overseeing the move from More Hall on the BC Chestnut Hill campus to the school’s current Newton campus in 1975, helping introduce the first joint degree program in collaboration with the business school, and increasing resources for clinical programs and courses, among many other efforts.

He was also very active in African, Hispanic, Asian and Native American (AHANA) recruitment and hiring. In 1977, Huber hired the Law School’s first full-time black professor, 1974 graduate Ruth Arlene Howe. Former Dean Daniel Coquillette, who succeeded Huber in 1985, said he built on Dean Robert Drinan, S.J.’s legacy, and called Huber “one of the great, monumental figures of our time,” not just at Boston College, but in all of legal education. Huber’s work as president of both the Association of American Law Schools and the Council on Legal Education Opportunity changed the course of legal education and the profession. “He played a vital role in minority enrollment, not just at BC but nationally,” Coquillette said. “Besides promotion of minorities, Dick was a tremendous advocate for women in law school…by the time he was done, female enrollment here went from essentially nothing to about 40%.”

The Environmental Affairs Law Review, International and Comparative Law Review, and Third World Law Journal at BC Law all began under Huber’s leadership. The Black American, Asian American, and Latin American law students associations formed. Faculty size grew by eight between 1970 and 1979 alone, and slots were created for a director of alumni relations and a director of admissions and financial aid. He also helped build the law library from a one-room operation to a first-class, national powerhouse with over 150,000 volumes.

But Huber may be best remembered and loved for his people skills. “Dick’s unique contribution was internal,” says Sharon Hamby O’Connor, BC Law librarian from 1979 to 2002. “He had a remarkable ability to find the best in people without being unaware of their foibles, to bring out the best in a person without being paternalistic.” Huber fostered a culture of collegiality among faculty and between faculty and students that became ingrained and remains one of the Law School’s hallmarks.

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