Ralph Huiras, Hail and Farewell

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.

Joseph D. Kearney

Joseph D. Kearney has served as dean and professor of law at Marquette University Law School since 2003. He joined the faculty in 1997.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ethel Huiras Skemp

    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. Louie Andrew

    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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