In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus William T. Vukowich

August 25, 2023

William T. Vukowich, Georgetown Law Professor Emeritus, died on August 24.

A black and white photo of a man with short hair, wearing a shirt and tie

Professor Emeritus William Vukowich

Before coming to Georgetown Law, Vukowich majored in math at Indiana University in his home state, graduated from Berkeley Law, began his teaching career at Willamette University in Oregon and earned a J.S.D. degree at Columbia as a Ford Urban Law Fellow.

Vukowich joined the Law Center faculty in 1971, and over the years taught commercial law, consumer law, bankruptcy, contracts and comparative consumer protection. He shared his expertise on bankruptcy and consumer law with federal and local government agencies as a consultant to the State Department, the Federal Trade Commission, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the Montgomery County, Maryland Office of Consumer Affairs.

His book, Consumer Protection in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective, was published in 2002. He also focused on European Union law in his scholarship and had the opportunity to serve as a Visiting Professor of Law at Libera Universita Internazionale degli Studi Sociali in Rome, the University of Heidelberg and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Outside the classroom, Vukowich had many hobbies, evident in his office decor, which featured his own photographs of his travels and his garden. He shared his love of cycling with the community for many years by organizing an orientation week bike tour for entering law students.

A man standing at a classroom lectern, with a blackboard on the wall behind him

An undated photo of Prof. Vukowich in the classroom, courtesy of the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library Archives.

Dean William M. Treanor fondly remembered Vukowich, who continued to visit campus often after retiring from teaching. “I always enjoyed our conversations, his terrific sense of humor and his kindness. Bill was a great colleague, mentor and friend to so many of us at the Law Center,” said Treanor.

Fellow Emeritus Professor Joseph Page said he and Vukowich teamed up for more than a decade to collect funds from their colleagues to provide holiday gifts to members of the faculty support staff. The two also shared a set of season tickets for the Washington Capitals hockey team, at the time based out in Landover, Maryland. One evening stands out in his memory, when the Midwestern native skillfully drove them safely to the arena through a blizzard.

“He was a quiet, good-hearted guy, and everybody liked him,” said Page.

Please share your own memories and tributes. They will be added below.

In Remembrance

Bill and I were colleagues for many years at GULC — from the time I joined the faculty in 1973 until he retired. Our offices were often close together. He was part of a tight-knit group of faculty who spent many hours together talking over an endless list of topics — always with intelligence, humor, honesty, and respect. My beautiful memories of him will stay with me until I too see my final days. May his memory be a blessing to us all.

— Richard Chused, Professor, New York Law School

I always praise the remarkable education received at Georgetown University Law Center. The professors were stellar and the knowledge I brought back home to Honolulu is priceless. I believe I took Professor Vukowich's Commercial Law course which became invaluable as we grappled with several severe economic recessions here in Honolulu and worldwide as well as the economic effects of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on our tourist economy. May you rest in peace for a job well done educating many students at GULC.

— Gaye Miyasaki, Georgetown Law Alumnus, Retired Legislative Aide, HI State Legislature

Bill was a sturdy pillar of Georgetown's curriculum for many years. He was incredibly kind to me when I started out as a law professor. He had a lot of practical advice (and some skeptical questions) but always encouraged me to shape my courses as I thought best. We had lots of friendly discussion and debate about the Uniform Commercial Code - and that led to my first published article, co-authored with Bill and with Jack Murphy, 77 Geo. L. J. 1905 (1989). I always enjoyed seeing him when he returned to the school office during his retirement. May light eternal shine on him.

— Peter Byrne, Professor, Georgetown Law

When I came to Georgetown Law as Ethics Counsel in 2001, Bill was one of the first people to reach out to me and welcome me. He shared Nationals tickets with a group of professors when the team came to D.C. and I was treated to many enjoyable games as his guest. We stayed friends after he retired. He was a wonderful colleague and friend, always with a kind word and insights into the passing scene. I will miss him and cherish his memory.

— Michael Frisch, Ethics Counsel, Georgetown Law

Bill was always friendly and engaging. When I first arrived at Georgetown many years ago, Bill was one of the first tenured faculty members to reach out and welcome me, helping me feel like a true part of the community. Thereafter, whenever we met in the hallways, I always appreciated his ready smile and personal warmth.

— David Koplow, Professor, Georgetown Law

Bill was the salt of the earth. A pleasure and an education to converse with at any time. A mighty contributor to what makes Georgetown Law the fine and caring institution that it is. We will miss his quiet delightful way and his contributions to the life of the culture here very, very much.

— Paul F. Rothstein, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law