In Memoriam: Fred Herzog, former dean and professor

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Chicago-Kent community was saddened by the recent death of Fred Herzog, former dean of Chicago-Kent from 1970 to 1973. He died on March 21, 2008, at age 100.

"Fred Herzog was a champion professor, dean and human being," said Chicago-Kent Dean Harold J. Krent. "Generations of Chicago-Kent students and faculty members looked up to him as an extraordinary teacher, colleague and source of inspiration. He left his mark on Chicago-Kent and left it a better place."

Herzog was born in 1907 in Prague. Three months later, his family moved to Graz, Austria, where Herzog attended the local grammar and secondary schools. He graduated from the University of Graz with a doctor of laws degree and moved to Vienna after graduation. Herzog worked as a prosecutor and an assistant judge before becoming a full judge in 1935. During his judicial career, he worked in the criminal court in a suburb of Vienna and as a traveling circuit court judge.

Shortly after Nazi soldiers marched into Austria in 1938, Herzog received a letter from the Ministry of Justice informing him that he was suspended from the office of judge because he was a Jew. Herzog left Austria for Sweden in January 1939.

Afraid that Hitler might decide to invade Sweden, Herzog left Stockholm for New York on January 19, 1940, exactly one year after he arrived. In New York, he applied for a dishwashing job that paid $12 a week, but was deemed unqualified because he had no previous dishwashing experience. Fortunately, he was able to obtain a fellowship and enrolled at the University of Iowa College of Law. After earning his J.D. and graduating with high distinction, Herzog moved to Chicago, where he worked as a legal editor until he was granted citizenship and joined the Illinois bar. He briefly worked in private practice, but decided that he wanted to teach instead.

In 1947, Herzog joined the faculty of Chicago-Kent, where he taught labor law, property, legislation, trusts and equity. His students included Illinois Governor Richard B. Ogilvie '49, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas J. Moran '50, and Homer J. Livingston Jr. '66, former president and CEO of the Chicago Stock Exchange.

Herzog was appointed dean in 1970, shortly after Chicago-Kent merged with Illinois Institute of Technology. Herzog served as dean during the transition and expanded the writing program and increased the number of seminars that the school offered.

"My most productive years were spent at Chicago-Kent," Herzog once said in an interview with Chicago-Kent Professor Ralph Brill. "For 25 years I was here. I think we produced excellent students, and I'm proud of my reputation and particularly my association with the faculty. I tried to bring more modern ideas to the school."

Herzog accepted the position of first assistant attorney general of Illinois and resigned from the law school in early 1973. He remained with the Illinois Attorney General's Office until 1976, when he became dean of the John Marshall Law School. He served as dean there from 1976 to 1983 and as interim dean from 1990 to 1991. 

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