College of Law mourns the loss of former dean

The University of Tennessee College of Law community is mourning the loss of Richard Wirtz, professor emeritus and former College of Law dean, who died Jan. 3 at his home in Knoxville.

During his tenure as dean from 1991 until 1998, he helped establish both the Center for Advocacy and the Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law. He also oversaw the renovation of the College of Law, which resulted in new classroom space and a new wing for the Joel A. Katz Law Library.

He served as associate dean for academic affairs from 1988 until 1991. Following his term as dean, Wirtz was a Fulbright Scholar. He retired in 2004.

Wirtz’s career as a professor at the College of Law began in 1974, and he was honored for his teaching with the Harold C. Warner Outstanding Teacher Award and the Student Bar Association Outstanding Teacher Award.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Amherst College in 1961, a master’s degree in public administration from Princeton University in 1963, and a juris doctor degree from Stanford University in 1970.

Prior to entering law teaching, Wirtz worked with the Peace Corps, clerked for Judge Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and practiced law in Seattle, Wash.

A celebration of Wirtz’s life will be held with friends and family on Feb. 16. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Compassion & Choices, the Tennessee Justice Center, or Alzheimer’s Tennessee.
You may view his obituary here.