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12th & High

“In early November, The Ohio State University lost a great son. Judge Duncan impacted many lives in so many ways, with an unshakeable belief in the human spirit. By E. Gordon Gee, President and Professor of Law, The Ohio State University

When cacophonous voices competed to be heard on issues of great importance, he had the ability to do the right thing at the right time. There are few people in this community, in the state of Ohio, and very few nationally, who were not impacted directly or indirectly by his insight and leadership. Judge Duncan was an iconic lawyer, but that was not his calling. He was a trailblazer as a federal and state judge, but that was not his calling. He was a valued member of the Board of

Trustees of our University, but that was not his calling. His true and most profound calling was to inspire us to rise to our better angels. In that, he succeeded magnificently. Bob Duncan was an individual of quiet leadership and great wisdom. His kindness and generosity were displayed in ways large and small — never with fanfare, but always with relevance. There are honest men. There are thoughtful men. There are humble men. But there are few who embody

all of these characteristics so genuinely, and with such humor and grace. Judge Duncan left a legacy that will not be replicated. Instead, it must be wholly celebrated. Our duty, in return, is to follow the path he blazed.”

“The list of offices Judge Robert Duncan held, though impressive, seems to miss the point of what made him a giant among us. When Judge Duncan held public office, he appreciated the weight of the decisions he was making. Though uncommonly wise, he also worried; he was humble and intent on choosing the right path. Once he made a decision, nothing could shake his integrity or courage. I asked Judge Duncan a few months ago which of his positions he most enjoyed. ‘Oh, I don’t know,’ he said. He did not like to talk about himself. ‘I came closest to thinking I might be doing some good when I was on the municipal court bench.’ On a different day, Judge Duncan might have selected a different position to highlight. On every day, though, his measure of his own enjoyment would have been how much he could contribute, not the prestige the office carried or its prerogatives. Judge Duncan’s unwavering dedication



to making a positive difference was part of what made him a giant. That quality also led individuals of all political persuasions to rely on the sincerity and depth of his counsel. His criticisms were expressed with stories and humor. When Judge Duncan gave a compliment, it mattered. As a result, he became what his former law clerk Suzanne Richards ’74 called a ‘positive force’ in the lives of hundreds of others, including many of Ohio’s lawyers. Mentoring was another aspect of his dedication to contributing, another part of what made Judge Duncan a giant.”

By Nancy H. Rogers, Professor Emeritus of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

All Rise Winter 2013  

All Rise Winter 2013 - The Creepy Factor

All Rise Winter 2013  

All Rise Winter 2013 - The Creepy Factor