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Renowned University of Iowa Professor of Law Passes Away

Randall Peter Bezanson, a renowned professor of the University of Iowa School of law, passed away last week. Born in Cedar Rapids, Bezanson had attended Northwestern University in 1968 and enrolled as a law student in the University Of Iowa College Of Law in 1971. As student, he was the Editor-in-Chief of Iowa Law Review.

After graduating from law school, Bezanson clerked for appellate court Justice Roger Robb, and then for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. In 1973, Bezanson joined the faculty at the University of Iowa. He was an assistant to the president for Legal Affairs in 1976 and from 1979 to 1984 he was the vice president for Finance and University Services.

In 1988, Bezanson left to join as the dean of Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia. After completing his term as dean of the law school, in 1996, he returned to Iowa as a visiting professor. He rejoined as a full-time faculty member in 1996.

In 1998, Bezanson was named the Charles E. Floete Distinguished Professor of Law and became the holder of the David H. Vernon professorship in 2006. In 2009, Bezanson earned the Provost Award for Teaching Excellence at the university, its highest honor for teachers.



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Bezanson was an expert on constitutional law and application of the First Amendment. He was a member of the American Law Institute and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

Speaking on Bezanson, Willard Boyd, UI professor of law and president emeritus said, ” He was a stellar professor of law, great educator, and superb scholar… He immediately took hold, was intelligent, and had inherent good judgment.”

Visiting Professor James Leach, one of his former colleagues said, “He wrote and spoke with clarity and logic that captured the humor as well as pathos of the subjects and circumstances reviewed. He will be much missed.”

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