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History and Traditions

Allan F. Smith

Allan F. Smith taught at the University of Michigan Law School, 1947-1994.

Date of Birth: 1911
Date of Death: 1994



ALLAN F . SMITH, professor emeritus and former dean of the University of Michigan Law School, died Jan. 21, 1994 in Sarasota, Florida. He was 82.

Smith, who served as interim president of the University in 1979, was a respected scholar in real estate transactions and personal property law and a beloved teacher.

"In Allan Smith's classroom, you felt that nothing in life was more important than the law - except people," recalled Theodore St. Antoine, a law professor, former Law School dean and one of Smith's students. "When you were with him outside the classroom, you knew there were lots of other important things - music and the theater and the Michigan Wolverines - and always, people.  The warmth of the man simply glowed. "An occasional academic could come up with more brilliant insights; no one surpassed Allan in drawing out the best in everyone around him. The careers he fostered and the lives he enriched will be his memorial."

U-M President James J. Duderstadt said, "Allan Smith had an extraordinary impact on the U-M.  He served as vice president and chief academic officer during a period of both great challenge and opportunity for the University, and provided exceptionally strong leadership. I will always be personally grateful to him for the advice, counsel and mentorship he provided me, and for his enthusiastic and spirited companionship in the president's box at Michigan football games. He will be missed very much by the Michigan family."

Dean Lee Bollinger said of his predecessor, "He was one of the great deans of this law school. He was a wonderful teacher who also had enormous personal charm."

Born in 1911, Smith earned an A.B. from Keamey State Teachers College in Nebraska in 1933. He followed with an LL.B. from the University of Nebraska in 1940, and an LL.M. in 1941 and an S.J.D. in 1950 from the U-M Law School. He received several honorary degrees, including a D.C.L. from New Brunswick and an LL.D. from Michigan.

He served as senior attorney in the U.S. Office of Price Administration from 1941-43, and in the Army in military intelligence from 1943-46. He then taught at Stanford University for a year, joining the law faculty at Michigan in 1947. He became a professor in 1953 and was dean from 1960-65. He then went on to serve the University as vice-president for academic affairs from 1965-74; he was named emeritus in 1982. Upon his retirement, the University recognized Smith and his wife by establishing the Allan F. and Alene Smith Professorship. The addition to the Law Library completed in 1981 also was named in their honor.

The author of numerous articles and books, including Personal Life Insurance Trusts and Cases on Property, Smith held visiting appointments at Stanford, the University of Georgia, Hastings College of the Law and the University of Hawaii.

Smith was active in Phi Delta Phi, a legal fraternity. He was a life member of the Lions Club and an honorary member of the Rotary Club. He was a long-time member of the First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor, where he was active in the music ministry.

Smith is survived by his wife Alene; two children, Stephanie Smith of Ann Arbor and Gregory Smith (and wife Barbara) of Berkeley, Calif.; three grandchildren, Elizabeth Niederhuber, Pamela Smith and Michelle Risch-Smith; a great-grandson, Cory Risch-Smith; a brother, Donald Smith, of Madison, Wis. and a sister, Hallie Dryden, of Tuscon, Ariz.

A memorial service was held at Feb. 5 at the First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor. The family has requested that memorial contributions be directed to the Allan F. and Alene Smith Professorship at the U-M Law School.

--  From the University of Michigan Law School's Law Quadrangle Notes, V. 37, Iss. 01 (Spring 1994).

More Information About Allan F. Smith


Papers (Mirlyn)

Photo Links


Class Notes

Oral History:

1. Board of Regents (University of Michigan) sound   recording series.

2. History and Traditions of the University Committee (University of Michigan) interviews, 1991-2004.

3. Law School (University of Michigan) oral history interviews, 1988-2002.

Board of Regents Memoir

*   "Allan Smith: Memoir" Proceedings of the Board of Regents (1954-1957). 341.

Memorials & Tributes:     

*   Fleming, Robben W. "Allan Smith", 79 Mich. L. Rev. 381 (1980-1981)

*   Lindemer, Lawrence B. "Allan Smith -- A Personal History", 79 Mich. L. Rev. 377 (1980-1981)

*   Sandalow, Terrance. "Alfred F. Conard and Allan F. Smith", 79 Mich. L. Rev. 371 (1980-1981)

*   St. Antoine, Theodore J. "Allan F. Smith -- My 'Dean for a Day'", 79 Mich. L. Rev. 383 (1980-1981).  

Law Quadrangle Notes Articles

*    "Allan F. Smith--Young all his life," 37 L. Quadrangle Notes 29 (Summer, 1994).

*    "Allan F. Smith, 1911-1994," 37 L. Quadrangle Notes 13 (Spring, 1994).

*    "Briefs," 30 L. Quadrangle Notes 3 (Winter, 1986).

*    "Smith's contributions are commemorated," 27 L. Quadrangle Notes 21 (Fall, 1982).

*    "Allan Smith Reflects on University Administration," 26 L. Quadrangle Notes 8 (Spring, 1982).

*    "Honorary Degree Caps Presidency Of Allan Smith," 24 L. Quadrangle Notes 6 (Spring, 1980).

*    "Allan Smith, Former Dean, Returns to Law Teaching," 18 L. Quadrangle Notes 1 (Winter, 1974).

*    "Dean Allan F. Smith is Appointed University Vice-President for Academic Affairs," 9 L. Quadrangle Notes 1 (August, 1965).

*    "Allan F. Smith Appointed Dean of law School," 4 L. Quadrangle Notes 1-2 (June, 1960).

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