Guest Book

Dawn Clark Netsch Remembered

Friends and colleagues are invited to write a remembrance and post it here.
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37 comments on “Guest Book
  1. Steven Elrod says:

    I was so inspired by Professor Netsch’s State & Local Government class during my second year of law school in 1981 that I made a career out of it. And I sought and received my professor’s advice and guidance throughout that career, long after the class ended. However, the highest honor of my life came when Professor Netsch asked me to take over the teaching of that same class. My law partner, Vic Filippini, and I never let the students forget that this is Dawn Clark Netsch’s class. We are truely privileged to be carrying forth her legacy. The world of state and local government law (as she would refer to it) has lost its moral and intellectual compass, and I have lost a mentor and a friend.

    Steve Elrod (JD ’82)

  2. Terri Mascherin says:

    Dawn was teaching at the Law School while I was a student, but it was not until several years later, when I became a member of the Law Board, that we became friends. Dawn was extraordinarily generous with her time, her advice and her willingness to leverage her connections to help others. When I served as President of the Chicago Bar she said “yes” each time I called and asked any favor from her. Dawn always made me feel that she was very happy to see me — I know that she had that effect on everyone who she considered a friend. Dawn was wise, frank, funny and 100% supportive. I will miss her warm smile and quick wit. Illinois — and especially Northwestern — has lost a giant of the Law.
    Terri Mascherin (J.D. 1984)

  3. Juan R.Thomas says:

    Dawn will be remembered as one of the best leaders in Illinois’ legal and political community. She was smart, sassy and honest. I appreciate the time I had to get to know her on the Board of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. If Paul Simon was the most honest man in Illinois politics, Dawn Clark Netsch was the most honest woman. May they both now be reunited and enjoying a lively debate and a heavenly feast.

  4. Jim Alfini, '72 says:

    Dawn was a true reformer, always ahead of her time. I recall testifying before a legislative committee on merit selection of judges. Dawn was the only member of the committee that asked informed questions, and offered insightful comments. She also made a commencement speech at Northern Illinois University when I was dean of the law school. She was terrific! The students were truly inspired by her words and presence. We were all enriched by having this extraordinary woman as part of our lives.

  5. Nancy Flowers says:

    Dawn was an inspiring woman and I am so grateful and honored to have known her. I smiled every time I saw her and made it a point to stop and chat even if for a short while. May you rest in peace Dawn!

  6. leigh b. bienen says:

    dear dawn, we miss you especially your good cheer and unfailing spirit of cooperation and good humor, exemplified in so many of your activities here at the law school, and in the world of government. Thank you for all that you did for us, for the community, for your friends and family, and as a model of a lawyer in public service… you will not be forgotten. sincerely, leigh bienen

  7. Joel H Fenchel says:

    she was a fine teacher; I was in the first class she taught at Northwestern. Her intellect, her ethical standards and her practical experience made her an outstanding professor. Her public service is a model for what such service and the campaigning for office ought to be. Professor Netsch, you enriched my life and the life of the community. Joel H Fenchel (JD ’66)

  8. Howie Kent says:

    I was only 15 when I volunteered for Dawn’s campaign for Governor but she and her staff welcomed me to the family with open arms. One of my favorite memories of Dawn was when she and I marched together in a parade just the two of us (Archer ave parade). She is why I got into politics. Dawn was so far ahead of her time. As a gay teenager struggling to come out, Dawn’s campaign made me feel better about myself. I always loved to see her in the Chicago pride parade even after she left office. A true ally she was for the GLBT community. If she ran today for Governor she would have won hands down. Illinois and the world is a better place because of Dawn Clark Netsch and yet we will feel a huge gap in progressive leadership for a while because of Dawn’s absence. I have a campaign button framed in my bedroom and every time I look at it I will always remember what Dawn taught us.

    Thank you Dawn. I’ll miss you.

  9. Joyce A. Hughes says:

    Probably it was because Dawn Clark Netsch was the first woman on the faculty of Northwestern Law School that I became the second woman on that faculty and ultimately the first Black woman to be tenured in any department of the university. That was not just a matter of chronology. I believe it was due to the fact that Dawn was on the appointments committee. She was an inspiring beacon to me, as she was for others. Following a life well lived, may she rest in peace.

    Prof. Joyce A. Hughes

  10. Joan says:

    I too am a great admirer of Dawn. So bright, so modest about her remarkable achievements, fun and a great teacher. I will be unable to attend the memorial, I’m sad to say, but I miss her as a role model and friend.
    Joan Humphrey Lefkow, NU Law Class of ’71

  11. Joei Allen says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Dawn for 2 years. She was an incredible woman whose inner strength I admired. She will be missed.

    Joei Allen, Residential Services

  12. Valeri says:

    It was an honor and privilege to work on Dawn Clark Netsch’s gubernatorial campaign. I had nothing but the deepest respect for her intellect and abilities. She was a straight shooter, as her humorous campaign commercial noted. The usual Republican operatives were very cruel and sexist in that campaign, even disparaging her looks. It was obviously an uphill battle, but we waged it well and above board. While Governor Edgar was a pretty good governor, MSI aside, Dawn would have been a great one. Rest in peace. You have certainly earned it.

  13. Drew Beres says:

    I feel so very fortunate to have knocked on Professor Netsch’s office door a year and a half ago to ask a simple question about judicial elections in Illinois. That visit morphed into a tutorial on the Illinois Constitution and Illinois politics complete with incredible stories and important lessons. She dug around her office files and gave me a copy of the 1970 Constitution that I will always treasure. Needless to say, I kept visiting whenever I could. Professor Netsch was a true inspiration and a legend in a state of many towering figures. – Drew Beres (Class of 2013).

  14. Philip J. Butzen (Class of 1974) says:

    Professor Netsch was one of the finest teachers I have ever known, and I was exceptionally fortunate that she agreed to review my thesis on Illinois municipal annexation law during my senior year at Northwestern Law School in 1974. She was an outstanding leader in many areas; she will be missed

  15. Dawn Netsch died of Lou Gehrig disease (ALS) . We mourn everyday for the dear ones we lose to this terrible illness, it seems to pick the best amongst us. No one is immune. We greatly value Dawn Netsch’s personal support to combat ALS and reaffirm our commitment to understand, and prevent or cure this disease. This will happen thorough a collective human effort, which means grit and determination of researchers and commitment by the community . As Dawn Netsch is remembered let’s not forget the killer is still loose.

    I write this on behalf of the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine at Northwestern where we are committed to take care of patients with ALS and find the causes and cure for it.

  16. Kurt Sangmeister says:

    I was really sad to learn of Sen. Netch’s passing recently. She was an intelligent and thoughtful woman who was a real trailblazer in Illinois politics. Dawn and my father served together in the Illinois Senate and frequently voted together with several other Senators in a block known as the “Crazy 8″. She was a very kind person who made a point to call me personally to express her condolences when my father passed away several years ago. Definitely a class act and one of a kind. She will be missed!

  17. Wayne E. Firestone says:

    DAWN – You accomplished a lot during your life. My memories go back to ’52 when we graduated in the same class. I still see another of our classmates, retired Judge Jim Richards from Hammond.
    Wayne E. Firestone (JD 52)

  18. Steve Seliger says:

    Had it not been for Dawn, I wouldn’t be living in Chicago for the past 40+ years or indeed be married to the same woman who I met from Chicago. I was in the class of 1966 and took Dawn’s antitrust classes. I was born and raised in southern New Jersey, my older brother had a law firm there and I left Chicago when I graduated in 1969 never believing I would return. Several months after graduation, I got a call from Dawn asking me if I would be interested in clerking for Judge Otto Kerner of the Seventh Circuit. My grades were good but not in the range that would have gotten me a job on the court. I wound up returning to Chicago for the clerkship and wound up staying here since. I was not an assertive student, and I appreciated Dawn’s interest in me as a law student and person. She reached out to me when no one else did.

  19. Cyril Robinson says:

    I was in the same as class as Dawn. The professor was the school dean, Harold Havighurst who taught contracts in Lincoln Hall. Havighurst would march back and forth behind the podium and suddenly fire a question at some terrified student. It was more important to ask than to answer a question. I took a seat as far away from Havighurst as I could get. One time I dared to raise my hand to ask a question. On hearing my question, Havighurst continued walking back and forth, then suddenly whirled around and said, “What a stupid question!” The idea was to harden you so you wouldn’t be phased when you faced a judge. This is one of the factors that honed Dawn and other NW students. As I recall, Dawn was just one of two women students in the class. Statistics now show that a majority of law students are women. Dawn was one of the women who acted as a role model for women to become law professors, judges and government officials. Cyril Robinson, class of ’52.

  20. Jim conley says:

    Dawn taught complicated subjects with clarity, while leaving room for the idea of “what the law ought to be”-I was an assistant to Lt Gov Paul Simon,during the three years at NU Law -she was a friend to him and to his wife Jeane Hurley Simon,(NU 52) also in the Legislature– Her Public Finance class principles were so well taught, that most of us received “Honors”
    -Jim Conley (JD 72)

  21. John Ratnaswamy says:

    Dawn Clark Netsch is a hero of mine, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and dedicated to public service.
    — John Ratnaswamy (JD ’85)

  22. Stanley Hirtle says:

    I remember the heady days of the early 70s when she reacted to the much-criticized state of Illinois politics by going in to it and having an exemplary career. Her name is also found at the Art Museum at Miami University of Ohio, near her birthplace. She had an impressive life. Stanley Hirtle (JD ’73)

  23. I was in the same class as Dawn and Harold Treinens’. Class was held in Lincoln Hall.The dean was Harold Havighurst who taught contracts and who had a habit of stalking back and forth in front of the podium, firing questions like bullets at students who dared to raise their hands, Dawn was one of two women students. Like many of her fellow students she went on to have a brilliant career, hers more distinguished than many others. She is a great model for today’s students, particularly those who are thinking of entering public service.

  24. Robert M. Gordon says:

    Prof. Netsch’s State & Local Government class was one of my favorite classes in law school. I learned a lot and she made it enjoyable! In the years since law school, I’d see her from time to time (generally at SFPIF dinners) and she always had kind things to say about my career and we’d always have great conversations. I’ll miss her!

    -Bob Gordon (JD ’83)

  25. Kristi Allen Osga says:

    Dawn Clark Netsch taught me in the law school and my husband and I also worked in her campaign. She was lovely, a true lady and it was an honor to know her. Kristi Allen Osga, class of 1969

  26. Richard H Goss JD"59 says:

    While I did not have Prof. Netsch as a professor, during my practice in public finance I attended many meetings and seminars in which she played a major role. She was always an inspiration no matter which side of the topic one was on. May she rest in peace.

  27. Cormac McManamon says:

    Dawn Clark Netsch was a lovely woman. We are all a little better for having made her acquaintance. May she rest in peace.

  28. Amy Canfield Middleton Knieriem '89 says:

    My grandfather, Dean Harold Canfield Havighurst, said that Dawn Clark Netsch was one of his best and favorite students. It was nice to see the photo of her in front of his portrait in the picture gallery. She will be remembered for her many contributions to the law school.

  29. Anthony M. Campo says:

    Professor Netsch made real estate law informative and enjoyable. May God have Professor Netsch at His Heavenly banquet.
    – Anthony M. Campo ( JD ’75)

  30. Anthony K. Reid says:

    I appreciate the pioneering life of Dawn Clark Netsch. She was an elegant presence at the law school, and I learned from her dedication to the law and to the students at Northwestern University Law School. Anthony K. Reid (JD, MBA ’84)

  31. tsablan says:

    Dawn was an incredible lady, role model and terrific “broad”. She will long be remembered.

  32. Hubbard Neighbour (JD '50) says:

    I never met her, but have read a lot about her (and by her) over the years and have always been a great admirer of hers, albeit from a distance. She became an eminence grise who reflected very well on our law school and our state. Bon voyage, professor.

  33. Julie Chin, Northwestern Law Alumni Relations says:

    There was just no stopping Dawn, a treasured alumna and beloved faculty member. Dawn was always in high demand at alumni events, with former students and fellow classmates anxious to see her and eagerly surrounding her at every turn. At Reunion this past fall, Dawn arrived early and stayed late, making her rounds to visit with several classes. She was an amazing woman and I am grateful and honored to have known her.

  34. Jim Montana says:

    Dawn taught me antitrust law. She was a superb teacher. I also worked with her when I was counsel to Governor Edgar and she was in State government. We also became friends. Dawn was brilliant and straight forward in striving to do the right thing. She also had a great sense of humor and was the consummate professional. We need more public servants like her…..Jim Montana Law School Class of 1968

  35. Bernard E. Thompson says:

    I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sen.Dawn Netsch in July 1975 during my Legislative Internship in the Springfield, IL legislature. She was voted the most intelligent legislator or some similar distinction, yet she belonged to the “Crazy Eight,” a group of exceptional legislators who worked diligently to actually accomplish something each legislative term! She even inspired me to attend law school. She was a great human being and she will be sorely missed in this world. It was always a pleasure to hear her coming down the halls, bangles, beads and something always jingling to alert the world to her impending presence. Heaven has gained a fine new member! We love you, Dawn! Bernard E. Thompson, NULS, (JD ’79)

  36. Johann Lee says:

    Years ago, Dawn used to introduce me at Orientation. I appreciated her kind words. I will miss you and hope to live to your example.
    Johann Lee, Northwestern Law Admissions

  37. Jonathan Robert Nelson says:

    She was a fine professor, whose classes and casebook explained clearly the causes, and ill effects, of having too many special-purpose local government authorities. She was also a pleasant and gracious presence to her students. Rest in peace, Professor Netsch, with your job well done!
    – Jonathan Robert Nelson (JD ’83)

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