Robert “Bob” Whitman, professor emeritus at UConn School of Law, died Monday, January 22, 2018.
Professor Whitman, UConn Law’s longest-serving professor, knew he wanted to teach law by his second year of law school. After a brief professorship at Maryland Law, he accepted a position with Cravath Swaine & Moore, as he felt he'd be a stronger professor after practicing law. Eventually, with some inspiration and encouragement from the great Columbia Law Professor Walter Gellhorn, Professor Whitman returned to teaching and dedicated 50 years of his life to mentoring students.
“Bob's dedication to the law school, over half a century, was unequaled. He was an extraordinarily caring person,” said Lewis Kurlantzick, Zephaniah Swift Professor Emeritus at UConn Law. “His consideration extended to not only his colleagues and students but also to those in need beyond the law school community.”
Professor Whitman joined the UConn Law faculty in 1966 and was the senior faculty member for several years before his retirement from teaching in 2015. An expert in trusts and estates law, Professor Whitman served as committee chair of the Donative Transfer and Aging Committees of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association. He was an active member of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel, and chair emeritus of both the Law Professor Advisory Group for Trusts and Estates and the Society for Trusts and Estates Practitioners (New England Branch). He also served as a Connecticut commissioner to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
Professor Whitman was the founder and chair of People Advocating Therapeutic Homes (PATH), now renamed Recovery Research, an organization whose mission is to address mental health and addiction among the homeless. He’s noted as being “instrumental” in the establishment of the PATH Endowment, which supports public interest law fellowships at UConn Law.
After earning a JD from Columbia Law and an LLM from New York University, Professor Whitman taught Trusts and Estates, as well as seminars on Estate Planning, Fiduciary Administration with Tax, and American Legal History. Professor Whitman also regularly produced Continuing Legal Education programs on a national basis for the American Law Institute. He was the founder and co-chair of the ALI Conference on Representing Estate and Trusts Beneficiaries and Fiduciaries.
The author of Prepare to Estate Plan and other books and scholarly articles, Professor Whitman was frequently a featured speaker at conferences and symposiums throughout the United States, including the 2013 annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, where he spoke about trusts and estates for an aging population. He served as an expert witness in trusts and estates litigation and was a director of the Graduate Group.
Professor Whitman is survived by his wife, Edith Whitman, his children Mara Whitman and Miles Whitman, and four grandchildren.