Members of the William & Mary Law community attended a reception and dinner on March 14 to honor the life of Professor Charles H. Koch, Jr., who passed away in February 2012. Held in the Great Hall of the historic Wren Building, the event also served to launch the Professor Charles H. Koch, Jr. Memorial Symposium on Administrative Law the following day.
“Tonight, we remember our teacher, our colleague, our friend,” said Law Dean Davison Douglas, who hosted the dinner. He went on to describe how Koch welcomed him when he first arrived at William & Mary, and shared other stories of their work together and long friendship.
Koch himself came to William & Mary in 1979 after serving with the Federal Trade Commission and teaching at DePaul University. Widely recognized as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on administrative law, he was also an expert in comparative constitutional systems, electricity, the European Union, and federal courts. He was named the Dudley Warner Woodbridge Professor of Law in 1982.
Guests of honor for the evening included Koch’s wife, Denise, and son, Andrew, as well as close friend Paul Verkuil ’61, the 24th president of William & Mary. Verkuil remembered how he was able to rely upon Koch’s “qualities of character and competence” in heading up several large projects of importance to the world of law and to the College.
Also sharing memories were colleagues who knew Koch at different points of his life. Lynda Butler, William & Mary’s Chancellor Professor of Law, recounted how she joined the faculty in 1979 and found in Koch a colleague willing to play mixed doubles tennis and lend wise guidance to a young colleague just beginning her law school career.
“It was the camaraderie that really mattered to him,” Butler said. “And he provided spot-on advice.”
Christie Warren, professor of the practice of international and comparative law, commented on Koch’s second career in international and comparative law, especially his love of comparing legal systems. And Jeffrey Kaufmann J.D. ’90, an expert in competitive strategy and ethics who worked with Koch on the Administrative Law Review when he was a student, described his evolution from student to apprentice to colleague over the 25 years he knew Koch.
“I can’t think of anything that would please Charles more than to see all of you, his friends, his colleagues in the academy, gather here to enjoy each other over good food and wine,” Denise Koch said at evening’s end. “And to have something marvelous to talk about--his beloved adlaw.”
The following day, the Institute of Bill of Rights Law hosted the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal’s symposium on administrative law in honor of Koch. The symposium presented panels of experts from around the nation who examined current issues in administrative law and discussed Koch’s life and work.