Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
History and Traditions

Marvin L. Niehuss

Marvin L. Niehuss taught at the University of Michigan Law School, 1933-2003.

Date of Birth: 1903
Date of Death: 2003



Marvin Lemmon Niehuss, Professor of Law and until 1968 Executive Vice-President of the University, is now concluding more than fifty years of association with his Alma Mater that began when he enrolled as a student in 1920.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Professor Niehuss received his A.B. degree in 1925 and his LL.B. in 1930 from Michigan.  He began his teaching career at the University as Instructor in Economics in 1927-28 and in 1930-31; served as Research Assistant in Business Administration in 1928-29; Instructor in Real Estate and Research Associate in 1931-32; and Instructor in Law in 1933-34.  After a brief period in  private law practice (1934-36), he returned to the University as Associate Professor of Law in 1936.  In 1944 he was promoted to full professor, and in that same year President Alexander G. Ruthven also named him Vice-President for University Relations, a position which included responsibility for legislative relations.  Thus he began his role in the University's administration which saw him become successively Vice-President and Dean of Faculties (1951-1962) and Executive Vice-President (1962-1968).  In 1968 he resumed his teaching responsibilities at the Law School.

Few men in the history of the University have come to know it so well or have done more to help shape its destiny.  For nearly a quarter of a century he worked tirelessly in interpreting the University to the various agencies of state government involved in financing higher education.  His work with the Legislature is legendary.  Under his guidance the University was able to achieve sufficient levels of state support to weather some of the most trying periods of its history, including World War II, the massive influx of veterans to the campus in the postwar period, and finally the unprecedented enrollment bulges of the sixties.

Known fondly to his friends as "Dixie", Marvin Niehuss enjoyed an equal measure of respect both among his faculty colleagues and in the legislative halls.  His clear thinking and straightforward manner were admired by all.

The Regents of the University now stand in grateful tribute to one whose commitment and service to this University have been rarely equalled as they name him Professor Emeritus of Law.

--Proceedings of the University of Regents Board of Regents, June Meeting 1973, p. 400-401

Niehuss, who was raised in Indiana and Alabama, graduated high school from Greenville Military Academy, Greenville, Mississippi. 

--New York Times, March 7, 2003, p. 25

Except for two years practicing law in Chicago during the 1930's, he devoted his entire career to the University of Michigan.  He made the move from law professor to administrator during World War II, when he coordinated relations with the armed services for the University as Coordinator for Emergency Training.

--Information from John Niehuss, Feb. 2009


Michigan Law Wordmark Print View