Ralph Huiras, Hail and Farewell

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School

Ralph HuirasThe area on the second floor of Eckstein Hall, running west to east from the elevators to the dean’s office, is the Huiras Lounge. It honors the extraordinary support that Ralph J. Huiras, L’41, gave to the building project — indeed, even though he made substantial gifts within the past decade to improve Sensenbrenner Hall, Ralph was, along with University Architect Tom Ganey, the earliest proponent of an entirely new home for Marquette Law School. Ralph felt especially strongly concerning the school, perhaps because it was his father’s alma mater as well: Peter M. Huiras graduated from Marquette’s law school in 1918, the same week that Ralph was born. The Huiras Lounge thus perpetuates Peter Huiras’s memory as well. There is much more that could be said concerning Ralph, who passed away this past weekend. Some of it has been said on past occasions, such as in this cover story of the law magazine several years ago or on the occasion of Ralph’s receipt of the Law Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Beyond this, I wish to note, for the benefit of our students, how proud Ralph was of the Huiras Lounge. He forwent the opportunity to have the fourth-floor gallery bear the Huiras name, instead of the lounge. Ralph wanted his and his father’s memory to be both near the dean’s office (recalling his visit to Dean Francis X. Swietlik’s office in 1941 when he had been summoned to Washington, D.C. to join the FBI even before he could take his last exams) and — more importantly — where the students are and will be. It was a great privilege to know Ralph, to stand in the Huiras Lounge with him last month, and to be associated with his belief in and commitment to the future of Marquette University Law School.

Author: Joseph D. Kearney

On July 1, 2003, Joseph D. Kearney became the ninth dean of Marquette University Law School. Dean Kearney has been a member of the Marquette faculty since 1997. Prior to coming to Marquette Law School, Dean Kearney practiced for six years at Sidley & Austin, Chicago's largest law firm. He served as well as a law clerk to the Honorable Antonin Scalia, Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and to the Honorable Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Dean Kearney is an accomplished teacher, scholar, and lawyer. His teaching focuses on civil litigation, including courses in Civil Procedure and Advanced Civil Procedure. His scholarly articles have appeared in the Columbia Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, and Marquette Law Review, among other journals. They variously focus on regulation of industry (particularly telecommunications), civil litigation, and judicial selection. His background as a practitioner is in appellate and telecommunications litigation, and he has argued cases before the Wisconsin and Illinois Supreme Courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and has been the primary draftsman of winning briefs on the merits in the United States Supreme Court. Dean Kearney is an honors graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.

2 thoughts on “Ralph Huiras, Hail and Farewell”

  1. As his only surving sister, I would like to thank you for your kind thoughts regarding both Ralph and my Father. They both held Marquette and Marquette Law School in the highest regards.
    They are and will be sorely missed.
    Ethel Huiras Skemp

  2. Ralph was an extraordinary man and a great friend. He has been a member of the Law School Advisory Board for many years. When Dean Howard Eisenberg talked to the Advisory Board about the needs of the Law School, Ralph stepped up on more than one occasion and donated the funds to make the improvement that Howard suggested the Law School needed. And of couse when Dean Kearney approached Ralph for a gift for Eckstein Hall, Ralph was one of the first to respond and with a very large gift. He was a very positive person with a big smile and a firm handshake. It was always a pleasure to be in his presence. I will miss him.

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