Legacy of a Great Professor

Dear Professor Farnsworth,

     You sent me such a kind e-mail before, expressing pride in those of your students who have gone on to teach. My own gratitude to my law professors is inexpressible. I feel endlessly fortunate to have been at Columbia, and know I am not alone. We former students sometimes find odd ways of expressing our sentiments. I used to teach Torts, and would compensate for not being able to replicate the superb course I had had with Prof. Reese by using his favorite expression, "to bad so sad!" in my own class with some frequency. One day one of my former students came by my office to tell me that now she understood that this expression, which apparently became known here as my trademark, in fact was used by all law professors. On inquiry, it turned out that my student was taking a bar review course with a law professor whose name I recognized as having been one of my classmates from Columbia, and someone who had been in the same first-year section, so my companion in "too bad so sad!" also had Prof. Reese. The incident occurred in the year of his death, and I imagine that my former classmate was grieving, and trying indirectly to keep Prof. Reese's memory alive, although it was only by the most unlikely of coincidences that anyone else would know of this.

     This is a long story to tell you how vividly we retain our law school years, and what strong emotions we feel for our professors. You gave use very, very much, both intellectually and as models of character.

Vivian Grosswald Curran '83
Professor of Law
University of Pittsburgh

Professor Willis L.M. Reese