The Editorial Board of the South Dakota Law Review is honored to dedicate Volume 63 to Professor Charles Marshall Thatcher, who is retiring in the spring of 2018 after a forty-three-year career in legal education--forty-one of those years of at the University of South Dakota School of Law. Professor Thatcher's reputation as a rigorous instructor is surpassed only by his caring personality and seemingly endless passion for imparting his knowledge to the next generation.

Professor Thatcher was the Manuscript Editor of the Ohio Northern Law Review, and he graduated from Ohio Northern University's Pettit College of Law in 1975. He immediately accepted a position as a visiting instructor in law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he taught legal writing, legal research, and appellate advocacy from 1975 to 1977. He also served as a legal writing instructor in summer classes offered by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO). He accepted a position as an assistant professor at the University of South Dakota School of Law in July 1977.

Professor Thatcher has taught at the University of South Dakota School of Law for the past forty-one years, making him the second longest serving member of the faculty in the history of the Law School. During his first year on the faculty, he served as an assistant law librarian under the guidance of Head Law Librarian and Professor Alan Ogden. Since 1977, Professor Thatcher has taught a variety of courses, including legal writing, appellate advocacy, sales, and introduction to criminal procedure. He also taught a personal property course to participants in the Law School Screening Program every summer from 1979 to 2009. He has devoted most of his career to teaching contracts, conflict of laws, and remedies. He took a year's leave of absence from the faculty in June 1985 to practice as an associate with the law firm of Agee, Clymer & Morgan in Columbus, Ohio, where he became a member of the State Bar of Ohio and represented workers' compensation claimants under the tutelage of senior partner Thomas E. Morgan. He returned to Vermillion in 1986 and resumed his duties as a member of the Law School faculty.

Professor Thatcher has repeatedly been recognized for the contributions he has made to the program of legal education at the School of Law. He has received the University-wide Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching among tenured faculty, he has received the Law School's John Wesley Jackson Memorial Award for Outstanding Professor of Law on three separate occasions, and he has received the State Bar award for excellence in legal education provided by the Cutler Law Firm in Sioux Falls.

In addition to his teaching duties, Professor Thatcher has fulfilled his scholarly and service responsibilities as a member of the School of Law faculty. He has published law review articles on contracts, sales, conflict of laws, remedies, and linguistics. He has served on most of the law school committees and chaired many of them. He has been a faculty advisor to co-curricular boards and student organizations. He has served on University committees. He has delivered lectures to undergraduates at the University and to civic organizations. As a member of the State Bar of South Dakota, Professor Thatcher has given presentations at Continuing Legal Education seminars. He often provides free legal advice to School of Law alumni and other members of the South Dakota Bar who solicit his opinion.

Professor Thatcher stated that he is deeply indebted to those who have provided him with encouragement, assistance, and friendship throughout his teaching career. These include colleagues on the Law School faculty, administration, and staff. He has served under the able stewardship of Deans Walter Reed, Mike Driscoll, Barry Vickrey, and Tom Geu. He has enjoyed the respect and affection of his fellow faculty members, including Professors Roger Baron, John Davidson, Pat Garry, Randy Gingiss, John Hagemann, Tom Horton, Chris Hutton, Frank Pommersheim, and Jon Van Patten (to name but a few). He is thankful to all of the talented Law School secretaries who have eased the way for him over the decades. He treasures the love and sustenance he receives from his wife, Mariana Roman. Professor Thatcher is most grateful for the love and support he has received throughout his professional career and his life from the finest teacher he has ever known, his father, Dr. and Professor Emeritus Charles Manson Thatcher.

Professor Thatcher's dedication to the students he has been privileged to teach is unsurpassed. His love of teaching, preparation for classes, enthusiasm for the subjects he has taught, sense of humor, and determination to be a resource for the students in his classes are widely acknowledged. His reputation as a severely critical editor of student writing is well deserved and often appreciated as demonstrating his determination to improve the analytical and writing skills of students in his charge. His attitude toward the many students whom he has served may be summarized in two words: "He cares."


Observations from Judge Judy, (1) long-time participant in Professor Charles Thatcher's annual presentation of JEOPARDY!, in which first-year students demonstrate their knowledge of 1L subjects in the first round and other topics in the Double JEOPARDY! round before an audience of cheering and jeering upperdivision students:


Category: USD Law Professors

200 Professor whose office light is on at 4:00 a.m. as he prepares for his 9:00 a.m. Contracts class

Who is Professor Charles Thatcher?

400 Professor who not only sings but can accompany himself and a band on the piano or organ

Who is Professor Charles Thatcher?

600 Professor who is the longest-serving faculty member at USD School of Law

Who is Professor Charles Thatcher?

800 Professor who is the source of more puns, quips, and groaners than any other faculty member, now or in the future?

Who is Professor Charles Thatcher?

1000 Professor who not only originated and wrote JEOPARDY! questions for decades and was selected to try out as a JEOPARDY! contestant, but also starred in the classic "Blues Brothers" rendition of "YMCA" with his sidekick, Professor Emeritus Roger Baron. (2)

Who is Professor Charles Thatcher?


The premier Contracts professor in the State of South Dakota

Who is Professor Charles Thatcher?

Professor Thatcher's dedication to USD Law students is unmatched. After every one of his tough exams, students line up outside his door to meet with him to wade through the red ink corrections on the test. Incredibly helpful! He is as well-prepared as a teacher can be for every class, and throws all of himself into the session. He is quick with a joke to lighten the otherwise-intimidating atmosphere in Contracts class. His JEOPARDY! production takes endless workhow else could he create "lex-rated movies" as a category, while also developing questions for each of the first-year courses?

Professor Thatcher's dedication also extends to his faculty colleagues. He serves with the Dean as our annual evaluator, which requires attendance in at least one class for every faculty member. He accepted the election to this position without complaint, and as those who know him would expect, he writes extensive comments for each faculty member and follows up with a meeting to discuss their performance. Once again, incredibly helpful!

Professor Thatcher definitely lightens the atmosphere in the law school. Who else would have come up with this "groaner" for JEOPARDY! from 2001:

Greeting that Attilla's wife gave him when he returned from looting, pillaging, and sacking a Roman city What is Hi, Hun! How was your day? Or this groaner from 2006:

Name of the product that the Kraft Food Company came out with last Easter: "Cheeses of__" What is "Nazareth?" We will miss Professor Thatcher. We are grateful for his many contributions in his four decades as a faculty member teaching USD Law students.


Professor Thatcher was here even before I was. In fact, he has been here for forty-one years. I have a lot of admiration for that--not just for the time served, but for the time served well. That's what makes the difference between the ordinary and extraordinary.

There are two sides to every colleague--the professional and personal. Let me say a little about both. On the professional side, Chuck is a...

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