The University Record, January 31, 1994

Allan Smith remembered as respected scholar, beloved teacher

Allan F. Smith, professor emeritus and former dean of the University of Michigan Law School, died Jan. 21 in Sarasota, Fla. Smith, who served as interim president in 1979, was a respected scholar in real estate transactions and personal property law, and a beloved teacher.

“Allan Smith had an extraordinary impact on the University of Michigan, as dean of the Law School, as vice president for academic affairs, and as interim president,” said President James J. Duderstadt.

“He served as vice president and chief academic officer during a period of both great challenge and opportunity for the University, and provided exceptionally strong leadership for our academic programs. During his tenure as interim president, the Replacement Hospital Project was launched.

“I will always be personally grateful to Allan for the advice, counsel and mentorship he provided me, and for his enthusiastic and spirited companionship in the president’s box at Michigan football games. He will be missed very much by the Michigan family,” the president added.

“In Allan Smith’s classroom, you felt that nothing in life was more important than the law—except people,” recalled law Prof. Theodore St. Antoine, former Law School dean and one of Smith’s students. “When you were with him outside the classroom, you knew there were lots of other important things—music and the theater and the Michigan Wolverines—and always, people. The warmth of the man simply glowed.

“An occasional academic could come up with more brilliant insights; no one surpassed Allan in drawing out the best in everyone around him. The careers he fostered and the lives he enriched will be his memorial,” St. Antoine added.

Law School Dean Lee Bollinger said of his predecessor: “He was one of the great deans of this Law School. He was a wonderful teacher who also had enormous personal charm.”

Born in 1911, Smith earned an A.B. from Kearney State Teachers College in Nebraska in 1933. He followed with an LL.B. from the University of Nebraska in 1940, and an LL.M. in 1944 and S.J.D. in 1950 from the U-M. He received several honorary degrees, including a D.C.L. from New Brunswick and an LL.D. from Michigan.

Smith served as senior attorney in the U.S. Office of Price Administration in 1941–43, and in the U.S. Army in military intelligence in 1943–46. He then taught at Stanford University for a year, joining the U-M in 1947. He was named professor in 1953 and was dean in 1960–64. He went on to serve as vice president for academic affairs in 1965–74, and was granted the emeritus title in 1982.

The addition to the Law School library was named for Smith and his wife, Alene, in 1986.

The author of numerous articles and books, including Personal Life Insurance Trusts and Cases on Property, Smith held visiting appointments at Stanford, the University of Georgia, Hastings College of Law, and the University of Hawaii. Smith was active in Phi Delta Phi, a legal fraternity.

He was a life member of the Lions Club and an honorary member of the Rotary Club. He also was a long-time member of the First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor, where he was active in the music ministry.

Smith is survived by his wife, Alene; two children, Stephanie Smith of Ann Arbor and Gregory Smith of Berkeley, Calif.; three grandchildren, Elizabeth Niederhuber, Pamela Smith and Michelle Risch-Smith; a great grandson, Cory Risch-Smith; a brother, Donald Smith, of Madison, Wis.; and a sister, Hallie Dryden, of Tucson, Ariz.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 5) at the First United Methodist Church.

The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be directed to the Allan F. and Alene Smith Professorship at the Law School, 721 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104, or the Medical Center Division of Cardiology Research, 3910 Taubman Center, Box 0366, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.