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January 12, 2009

Oregon Law Mourns Loss of Lois Ackerman

Lois and Ray AckermanMembers of the Oregon Law community are mourning the loss of a longtime administrator and generous friend of the school. Lois Ackerman passed away Friday, January 9, 2009, of a sudden heart attack.

Ackerman joined Oregon Law in 1943 as secretary to Dean Wayne Morse and acting Dean Orlando Hollis. Known affectionately as “Mrs. A,” she, the dean, and a faculty secretary comprised the entire law school administration at the time of her hiring.

Mrs. A spent 50 years at the law school, serving in several different capacities including assistant dean, registrar, admissions officer, recorder, executive assistant, and student counselor. Throughout her time at the law school, Mrs. A served six deans and thousands of students while watching Oregon Law transform into a statewide and national leader in legal education. Mrs. A retired from the law school in 1993.

Her late husband Ray was employed for 30 years in Eugene public schools, first as a teacher and then as an administrator. Ray was never formally employed at the law school, but spent numerous hours helping Lois with law school matters.

In 2001, Mrs. A. and Ray received the law school’s Meritorious Service Award for their generous contributions to the life of Oregon Law. At the ceremony, former dean and Professor Emeritus Eugene Scoles noted that Mrs. A, “spent 50 years as the most important non-lawyer in the lives of a half century of Oregon law graduates.”

This fall, the class of 1978 established the Lois and Ray Ackerman General Scholarship Fund to honor the generosity of the Ackermans and to provide scholarships to deserving law students.

Mrs. A remained active in the law school community up until the time of her passing, attending the October 10 reunion celebrations at which Professor Jim Mooney announced the establishment of the general scholarship fund. She also attended the October 15 celebration of the Legal Research and Writing program’s 30th anniversary.

Professor Emeritus Dom Vetri remembers Mrs. A as leading a life most wish they could emulate. “She gave of herself in terms of assistance, time, comfort, and joy in ways that exceed generous expectation. She always had a pleasant word and was interested in your life, and you always left her presence uplifted and with a smile.”

Vetri added that Mrs. A’s time at Oregon Law was spent in selfless support of others.

“She was unselfishly concerned and devoted to the welfare of others — altruistic to her core, ” Vetri said. “Mrs. A never spoke a bad word or passed on a negative rumor about anyone. She was loved by all who worked with her and knew her, and that is a legacy of a life well lived.”

A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, February 6, at First Congregational Church, 1050 East 23rd Street, Eugene.

For additional information on the Lois and Ray Ackerman General Scholarship Fund, visit the Oregon Law Alumni Web site.

Related Links:

Video of five former deans, faculty members and faculty administrators paying tribute to Mrs. A. at her retirement (1993)

Photos of Mrs. A and various alumni during the scholarship dedication (October 2008)

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