October 22, 2021

rohner-beach.jpgOn Saturday, October 16, 2021, the Catholic Law community held a Mass and celebration of the life of Catholic Law Professor Emeritus Ralph J. Rohner, A.B. ’60, J.D. ’63 who passed away June 11, 2020. Beginning at two o’clock in the afternoon, family, friends, and colleagues of the late educator gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the Mass of Christian Memorial.

Reverend Monsignor Charles V. Antonicelli '86 presided over the service with Reverends Peter Daly '80, Raymond C. O’Brien, and James R. Daly, O.SS.J., acting as celebrants. Several Catholic Law alumni spoke at the Mass as well. Words of remembrance were provided by Professor Louis J. Barracato ’65 with readings by Theresa Werner ’91 and Victor Muzzatti ’90.

In his remembrance of Rohner, Barracato spoke about the impact he had on each and every person he encountered and the indelible mark he left on the Law School. “When I think about The Catholic University of America, The Columbus School of Law, what it is and what it stands for, I start and end with Ralph Rohner. No one invested more of himself and enhanced the quality of education offered here in the history of this law school.” (Barracato's full comments are available here).

Professor Emeritus Clifford Fishman (in absentia) echoed Barracato’s remarks regarding Rohner’s legacy. “It’s easy to say that our building is his monument, and there’s some truth to that, but it only tells a small part of what Ralph contributed to the law school. He fostered and personified decency and compassion, loyalty, and strength [...] Everyone who knew Ralph was blessed to know him and work with him. If his memory inspires us to renewed commitment to his ideals and integrity, all those who follow us here will be truly blessed as well.” (Fishman's full comments are available here).

Immediately following the mass, a program and reception were held at the Law School in the William J. Byron S.J. Auditorium and the Louise H. Keelty and James Keelty, Jr. Atrium. Welcoming remarks were made by Stephen C. Payne, Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law, and Monica Rohner.

Happy to finally have the opportunity to honor Rohner, Dean Payne remarked, “It’s just a wonderful sight, and it goes to show not only how wonderful Ralph was, but what the most important thing is at our law school [...] it’s really the people that make our school—and Ralph was one of those people that makes us what we are.”

Additionally, several members of the Catholic Law community paid tribute to Rohner including John Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America; Leah Wortham, Professor Emerita at Catholic Law; and Nessa J. Feddis ’83, Senior Vice President & Counsel of the American Bankers Association and Vice Chair of the Law School Board of Visitors. As a Ralph J. Rohner Scholarship recipient, third-year evening student Erhan Bedestani also spoke briefly, but ardently, about his gratitude and awe for the legacy that Rohner left before the celebration of life concluded with closing remarks from Dean Payne. You may view a recording of the program below.

The endowed scholarship created in honor of Ralph Rohner, which provides scholarships for Catholic Law students, hopes to reach an additional $1 million to its endowment by the end of 2021. As of Monday, October 18, 2021, it is just $65,000 shy of that goal. If you would like to make a gift in memory of Ralph Rohner and help support our law students, please visit the Catholic University Columbus School of Law scholarships page and select the Ralph J. Rohner Scholarship Fund.