Larry Raful - Friend and Colleague

Publication year2022
CitationVol. 37


Creighton Law Review

Vol. 37


In June of 1999, at the conclusion of Larry's eleven-year tenure as Dean, Creighton University hosted a public reception in his honor. I was honored to be asked at that time to make a few remarks about Larry and his contributions to the law school and to the university. Now that was a relatively easy task for me. From my perspective, it was Larry's energy and determination that made the Creighton Legal Clinic a reality. It was that same energy and enthusiasm that resulted in the remodeling and expansion of the law library. These two accomplishments would, by themselves, stand as enduring monuments to the Raful deanship. In the modern era of the Creighton University School of Law they are, indeed, monumental.

But my little talk in June of 1999 wasn't about these more tangible markers. It was more about what I termed the "wellsprings of his life" - his faith and his family. In others words, you don't know the "real" Larry Raful until you know something about his fervent faith and the role that it plays in Larry's life. And you certainly don't know the "real" Larry Raful unless you know of his deep love for Dinah, Sarah, Anna, and Leah. Back in 1999, I thought I knew the "real" Larry Raful and I did - based upon my role as a member of the faculty, but not as a close friend.

Ordinarily, one would think of a dean who steps down as "returning" to the faculty. But, in Larry's case, that wasn't the situation, for Larry had been a law school administrator his entire career. There he was, in 1999, at age forty-nine, facing the daunting prospect of being a full time faculty member. Larry's teaching world, up until 1999, had been limited to the world of professional responsibility. It was a new challenge for Larry and he voiced to me some doubts about stepping into that role.

My "advice," if it can be called that, was simple: You'll find your teaching niche in the classroom sooner or later. What you're really going to enjoy most about this job is the opportunity you will have to exemplify the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis by being present to and among the students outside the classroom. And sure enough, that is what came to pass: Larry became a compassionate presence to the students - always having time...

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