Wednesday April 15, 2015

Professors Maria Crist and Thomas Hagel to Retire

On April 15, the School of Law celebrated the careers of Professors Thomas Hagel and Maria Crist in a somewhat unorthodox fashion - both professors were "sued."

The honorees, who are both retiring in May, were informed that they were being "sued" by the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the University of Dayton School of Law for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiffs, represented by Professor Blake Watson, claimed that the impending retirements will cause severe emotional distress. The plaintiffs were able to establish, through photographs and statements by members the faculty and staff, that both Thomas Hagel and Maria Crist have contributed immeasurably to the mission and success of Dayton Law.

Counsel for the defendants, Professor Victoria VanZandt, conceded that the plaintiffs had good cause to be upset about the defendants’ actions, but argued that their decisions to retire were justified.

Professor Emeritus Cooley Howarth acted as judge and ruled in favor of the defendants. He likewise acknowledged that the departure of Professors Hagel and Crist will cause great distress to the UDSL community, but held that their retirements were well-deserved. With his gavel, he adjourned the court, and those present then proceeded to the atrium where Associate Dean Thaddeus Hoffmeister presented the honorees with plaques and gifts in acknowledgment of their contributions to Dayton Law. 

Professor Crist said, "Blake established a solid claim against Tom and me, but thank goodness we had Vicki defending us and Cooley's wisdom to decide the case. I feel very fortunate to have spent a career with all of you."

Professor Hagel added, "I would like to join Maria in expressing my appreciation, especially to Blake, Vicki, Cooley and everyone else who helped put this together. I certainly did not expect it, but I will always remember it as one of the finest moments in my life. Thank you all."

The Honorable Diana S. Dickinson '89 of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, located outside of Washington, D.C., also sent a heartwarming letter to Professor Hagel that was presented by Deborah Adler Codeluppi '78, '81. It recalled how Professor Hagel inspired her hard work as a student in law school, first in Torts and then in Mock Trial, that helped her to accomplish her goal of being able to try cases and eventually led her to the bench. In honor of his retirement, Judge Dickinson is establishing an endowed scholarship at the School of Law in Professor Hagel's name for students interested in trial work. 

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