A Tribute to Dean Pirsig


Dean Maynard E. Pirsig Remembered

A Celebration of the Life of Dean Maynard E. Pirsig was held at the William Mitchell College of Law on February, 17, 1997. Dean Pirsig was appointed the third dean of the University of Minnesota Law School in 1948. Dean Pirsig was responsible for recruiting several new faculty members who later became nationally prominent figures in law, including Charles Alan Wright, Michael Sovern, David Louisell, and Jesse Dukeminier and he developed (with John Ellingston) a training program for professionals in delinquency control. He resigned the position in 1955 and returned to teaching fulltime. He taught judicial administration, pleading, actions and equity, criminal law, evidence, insurance, and ethics at the University Law School from 1934 until he retired in 1970. After he retired from the University, he began teaching courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, professional responsibility and comparative judicial administration as a professor of law at William Mitchell College of Law. He retired from William Mitchell in 1993.

The Memorial Convocation, held in the William Mitchell College of Law Auditorium, gave friends, colleagues, and family an opportunity to honor the illustrious career of Dean Pirsig. The ceremony began with a welcome from Harry J. Haynsworth, President and Dean at William Mitchell. Sharing memories of Dean Lockhart were Robert A. Stein, Executive Director of the American Bar Association; Judge Jack Davies, Minnesota Court of Appeals; Randall M. Tietjen, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi; Frank Claybourne, Doherty, Rumble & Butler; Michael P. Sullivan; President and CEO of International Dairy Queen, Inc.; and Professor James F. Hogg, William Mitchell College of Law. E. Thomas Sullivan, Dean and William S. Pattee Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, gave the closing remarks.

Dean Pirsig was born in Kossuth County, Iowa in 1902, and was raised on his parents 160-acre farm.He spoke only German until he began attending school.He received his B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota, his LL.B.Degree from the University of Minnesota Law Schoolin 1925 and was elected to the Order of the Coif. During the time he worked as an attorney and the director of the Legal Aid Society, he pioneered the legal- aid clinic program at the University of Minnesota Law School. Dean Pirsig published several books and articles, lobbied and testified before the Minnesota legislature, served on numerous committees, and held several prominent appointments throughout his career.

Dean Pirsig is survived by a son Robert, who wrote the popular 1970's book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"; a daughter, Wanda Wolf of New Brighton; two brothers, Howard of Utica, Ohio and Elmer of Kiester, Minnesota; and a sister, Evelyn Wilcox of Fairmont, Minnesota.