Why the 'Childress Lecture'?

12 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2014

Date Written: October 1, 2009


Richard Childress looked like the law school dean from central casting. Although his quirky personality and awkward mannerisms might have made one wonder how he ever got -- or held -- the job of dean, he was what every law school dean ought to aspire to be. Dean Childress oversaw the growth and diversification in student body, faculty, programs and physical plant of St. Louis University's School of Law in the 1970's. The Dean waged a personal campagin for human rights on a number of levels in the community, advocating for minority housing, equal employment and equal acess to public facilities and, as others have said, was the "conscience of the community" during the turbulent 1960's and 1970's. Dean Childress was a role model for students, a man of infectious optimism, a man of principle, a man whose days were characterized by "little kindnesses" and a man driven by "the constant search for justice for all." Dean Childress' example encouraged his students to believe in themselves and fostered students' belief that they could accomplish more than they themselves believed possible. That made all the difference for those whose lives he touched.

Keywords: Childress, dean, law school, civil rights, justice

Suggested Citation

Harkins, Malcolm J., Why the 'Childress Lecture'? (October 1, 2009). St. Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 53, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2394849

Malcolm J. Harkins (Contact Author)

St. Louis University ( email )

School of Law
100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101-1930
United States
314 977 3998 (Phone)
314 977 3332 (Fax)

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