Thoughts on the Passing of Professor Charles H. Koch, Jr.

Professor Koch's students and colleagues shared the following thoughts about him.

William & Mary Colleagues

"Charles was an early-morning visitor to my house many winter mornings. He and my husband were duck hunters and they loved the whole process of dragging out a boat, jumping in with the dogs and decoys, and waiting for sunrise. He was a wonderful and loyal friend. He also was a wonderful professional colleague, who unfailingly attended colloquia, cared about ideas, loved to debate and push the limits of arguments, and made surprising allies. There is a big hole in the faculty now." Professor Jayne Barnard, Cutler Professor of Law and Kelly Professor of Teaching Excellence

"I have had the good fortune to have known Charles Koch for close to a quarter of a century. Throughout these many years, he has been a close and loyal friend, and a wonderful mentor and colleague.

Charles had many talents and qualities which everyone who knew him recognized and admired. Among these were his loyalty to his friends, devotion to his family, and his strong commitment for the values, standards, and interests of the Law School. His intellectual curiosity seeking to know about the cultures of other peoples, the histories of other lands, and his abiding interest in administrative law, European law and institutions, and more generally his interest in comparative law and international affairs were truly breathtaking and inspiring. He was an unassuming man who loved to learn, always finding new subjects that excited him and inspired him to broaden his intellectual horizon. He also had an unusual ability to listen and listen attentively, often without the slightest expression on his face.

Charles was a man of few words who often exhibited penetrating insights and unique perspectives when he chose to speak. He was also a good judge of character and of the contributions of his colleagues to the mission of the Law School in terms of teaching, scholarship and service to the community. His work ethic can only be described as simply legendary. To his last days, he worked hard, very hard (always arriving at his office at 7:00 a.m. including, incredibly, even on Saturdays) to improve the intellectual life of the school and the social climate of our community. For these reasons, the faculty frequently turned to him to head up, or serve as a member of, the Law School's Status and Appointments Committees for as long as I can remember. He discharged these responsibilities with finesse, thoroughness, diligence and good judgment. 

On a personal level, I will always cherish with sadness in my heart the memory of Charles as a man who added breadth, humanity and a special dignity to my life. I will forever miss him and miss him dearly."  Professor Alemante Selassie

"Charles was my friend, mentor and closest collaborator at the Law School.  One of the most open-minded, intellectually curious people I have known, he disdained simplistic, rigid thinking and loved nothing more than analyzing legal issues through new lenses.  Together we created and co-taught the course in Litigation in Civil Code Systems, and when I started teaching Islamic Law, he took that class. Whenever I returned from a field assignment, whether it was in Doha, Beijing, Bishkek or Baghdad, Charles was the person I was most eager to talk to. I knew he would listen quietly and then challenge me with incisive questions that got right to the heart of issues I had been working on. We shared a love of comparative approaches and a respect for contributions other legal systems can make in improving our own. I will miss him deeply." Professor Christie Warren, Professor of the Practice of International and Comparative Law and Director, Program in Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, W&M Law School

"Charles and I shared a fascination with the administrative process - its rules and regulations, its intricate, arcane processes, and its profound impact on national life.  Professor Koch became one of the country's leading scholars about things administrative. He plumbed the depths of the regulation of electricity. He moved beyond the United States to immerse himself deeply in the constitutional and regulatory machinations of the European Union.  Charles was expert, too, in the intricacies of federal courts.  He was, in short, a very accomplished and productive member of the academy, as a teacher, researcher, and writer.  He was also my good friend.  I will miss Charles very much." William & Mary President Taylor Reveley, former Dean, William & Mary Law School


"Professor Koch was the faculty sponsor of the Administrative Law Review for several years, including my 3rd year, when I had the pleasure of working as one of the student editors. He demonstrated outstanding patience with the students and conveyed a passion for his area of expertise. He will truly be missed." Felicia L. Faragasso, JD '90, Senior Counsel and Director of International Law and Compliance, SAIC, McLean, VA

"I met Professor Koch on my first day of orientation.  He was instrumental in encouraging me to pursue an academic career and over the next 25 years became my teacher, mentor, colleague, confidant and friend.  What always struck me about Charles was that behind his laid back demeanor was a person who observed everything, taking it in with a clear understanding of the underlying dynamics of a situation.  He was a terrific human being and I will miss him and our interactions deeply."  Jeffrey Kaufmann, Ph.D., JD '90

"Professor Koch was a fantastic scholar and teacher.  During the three courses I took from him he always demonstrated a keen interest in his students learning the law rather than mastering the black letter material set forth in the cases.  His command of the legal theory was outstanding but certainly eclipsed by his warm care for his students. I am saddened to hear of his passing and will miss him greatly." Richard CM Mallory, JD '09, Document Review Attorney, Sullivan & Cromwell

"Sad to hear. I talked to him a couple times in his office hours and he was a nice guy. I know at least once we talked Terps sports as we were both fans." Phillip McCollum, JD '08

"Professor Koch was an incredible professor, and, more importantly, an incredibly funny and kind person.  He will be sincerely missed." Johanna Orleski, JD '11, Associate, Hunton & Williams

"Charles Koch brought a dry sense of humor and a keen awareness of both the practical and the ridiculous to his teaching. His amusement with the absurdities of law and politics was infectious, and his love of law and life was inspiring. I am deeply saddened by the loss of a mentor and friend. William & Mary Law School's greatest asset is its faculty and we have lost one of its finest members. My sincere condolences go to his family and to all those fortunate enough to have known him." Ian M. Ralby, JD '05, Ph.D. (Cantab.), Executive Director, I.R. Consilium; Counsel, Picard, Kentz & Rowe, LLP

"Professor Koch, you will be missed not just for the intellectual influence you had on your students and the legal community more generally, but for your willingness to always entertain the questions and musings of all of your students (even at 8:30 on a Monday morning)." Julie Silverbrook, JD'12

"I was fortunate to have had Professor Koch for Administrative Law in the fall of 2011, and it was perhaps one of the most engaging educational experiences I've had.  Professor Koch challenged us as a class to carefully weigh the legal and practical implications of everything we covered, and did so with a sense of humor and great wisdom. I'll always remember how modest he was of his great accomplishments.  He was a professor who enriched our law school experience immensely, and I can say that we as students will miss him dearly." Jay Sinha, JD '12, 2011-12 Student Bar Association President

"I was fortunate to have taken a couple of Professor Koch's classes.  He was a truly gifted teacher.  I'm nearly six years out of law school now, and only a few classes have really stuck with me in that time.  His Administrative Law class is one of them.  His love of and passion for the topic really shone through in the class, and for me at least, it became infectious.  I really looked at the federal government in a whole new light after the class, and I still muse on some of his lectures and topics.  I feel really fortunate to have had him as a teacher, and he will be sorely missed. " Brian Soiset, JD '06, Hangzhou, China

Colleagues from the Academy

"Charles was a great guy whose scholarship made a big impact on the admin law field.  His death is a very sad event. " Professor Michael Asimow, Professor of Law Emeritus, UCLA School of Law

"I have been unable to respond to the news of Charles' passing because I have been so shocked and devastated by the news.  ... While I am sure I wasn't as close to Charles as some others were, he was one of the Fall Conference attendees that I regularly had dinner with; Denise [Koch] and Renate (my wife) spent the day together in Montpelier, while Charles and I were together in a conference; we worked together when I was Chair of the ABA Adlaw Section to enable the European Union Adlaw initiative, and many years ago I invited him to teach in our summer school, which he did, bringing Denise and his son along, and which forever after he raved about as a wonderful experience (lots of fishing involved).  As others have recounted, Charles was unassuming, supportive of others, and just a hell of a sweet guy.  I will miss him greatly." Professor Bill Funk, Robert E. Jones Professor of Advocacy and Ethics, Lewis & Clark Law School

"Charles ... became an important mentor to me over the years. During a family vacation, I visited him in his office at 10 a.m. on a summer Sunday morning. He was always gracious and helpful. I was very honored when he invited me to join his path-breaking casebook. I will miss him, as will the broader administrative law community." Professor Bill Jordan, Associate Dean and C. Blake McDowell Professor of Law, University of Akron School of Law

"Charles was such a soft-spoken and unassuming person that it was easy for people to overlook the remarkable breadth of his contributions, ranging from his prodigious work as a treatise writer to his really unique casebook, and from his scholarship on administrative adjudication and judicial review to his more recent focus on global administrative law.  His passing is a real loss to the profession and to the Section, and I will miss him."  Professor Ronald M. Levin, William R. Orthwein Distinguished Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law

"Over the last 30 years I was fortunate to have many opportunities to talk and work with Charles, whether as a fellow Ad Law teacher, as a Section Member, in this capacity as Editor-in-Chief of the Administrative Law Review or, most recently, in connection with his putting together a program on global administrative law for the Spring 2010 meeting. He was always insightful, kind, and ready to offer his assistance. I will truly miss him as a colleague and friend."  Professor William V. Luneburg, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh Law School, and former Chair, ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice

"Without repeating much of what others have said, I just pass along this memory of mine ... When I chaired the Section's nominating committee six or so years back, I approached Charles about serving on the Section's Council. After all, among his other contributions, he had made a major contribution to the Section by virtue of his participation in the EU administrative law project. Charles said he was pleased I asked him about serving, but pressed me to tell him who else was being considered. As I went down the list, he would recite reasons why each person was more deserving than he was, or had contributed more to the Section. I argued a bit with him, but he insisted he wasn't as deserving as some of the others, and that I should look to them for Council seats. This memory of Charles has always stuck in mind - and it certainly [was] exemplary of someone who [was] unassuming and supportive." Randolph May, President, The Free State Foundation