Fordham Law Mourns Passing of Professor Emeritus Robert Byrn


The Fordham Law community is saddened by the death of Fordham Law Professor Emeritus Robert M. Byrn ’59. Professor Byrn passed away on February 3. He was 85 years old.

Professor Byrn joined the Fordham Law faculty in 1963, after serving as an associate at the New York law firm Hughes, Hubbard and Reed for four years. At Fordham, he taught torts, criminal law, and remedies.

“Bob demanded much from his students, but it soon became clear to all that he did so because he believed in our abilities and wanted us to excel,” said Professors Helen Bender ’78 and Gail Hollister ’70, both of whom were taught by Professor Byrn. “Combine those high expectations with Bob’s ability to bring tort law to life and you get a terrific class. When we joined the faculty, Bob became a valuable mentor for us as he was for many others. He was a treasured friend.”

In 1986, then Dean John Feerick ’61 appointed Professor Byrn acting associate dean of Fordham Law. The following year Professor Byrn was named the Leonard F. Manning Distinguished Professor for his outstanding contributions to the Law School. He retired in 1994, after 31 years of teaching.

Among Professor Byrn’s scholarship is Cases and Materials on Remedies, published in 1982. His professional and civic affiliations include past service as a member of the youth board of the city’s human resources administration, the archdiocese’s public affairs committee, Fordham University’s hearing committee, and the New York Governor’s Commission to Review Abortion Law. Professor Byrn also volunteered at Covenant House, teaching GED courses, and at St. Clare’s Hospital (later St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital), visiting AIDS patients, as well as at Cabrini Medical Center, Terence Cardinal Cooke Nursing Home, and Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Roosevelt Island.

A 1953 graduate of Fordham University School of Business (now Gabelli School of Business), Professor Byrn earned his J.D. degree six years later from Fordham Law, where he was an associate editor of the Fordham Law Review.

“When I started at Fordham Law in the early 90s, Bob was worshipped by his students and liked and respected by all,” said Dean Matthew Diller. “He was deeply dedicated to the Law School and to his students. He will be missed by his many friends in the Law School community.”

The funeral mass will take place at 10 a.m. on February 22 at the Parish of the Holy Cross, 95 Old Nichols Road, Nesconset, NY 11767.

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