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12th & High

“I had the pleasure of knowing Bob Duncan for more than 30 years. I met him when I was 17 years old and had the audacity to call a federal judge and ask him why he was ordering us to change schools. By Yvette McGee Brown ’85, former Ohio Supreme Court Justice and Partner at Jones Day

From that day forward, he was my friend and mentor. Bob never sought the spotlight and was embarrassed when it shined on him. He was a man of firsts, who demonstrated not only superior intellect but a genuineness of spirit that is rare for someone so accomplished. The Bob Duncan I had the privilege of knowing was a man who was gracious and generous. The man who called me with encouragement and once told me, ‘I could not be prouder of you if you were my own daughter.’ Those words I will always cherish. He was the man who every year sponsored a reception for African-American law students to remind them of their obligation to be excellent. The man who always took time for young people; loved his family,

loved the law, and loved Ohio State. He established a scholarship fund at the Moritz College of Law and rarely missed an OSU football or basketball game. In fact, he was in the hospital the week before the opening football game, and when I called to see how he was doing, his only concern was that he be released from the hospital in time to attend the game. Bob Duncan was more than my friend. He was the father I never had. He lived his life with dignity, never forgetting his Urbana roots. Everyone he touched was better for having come into contact with Bob. He leaves an incredible legacy of scholarship and achievement. I will miss him so very much.”

“My friendship with Judge Duncan began in January 2003 when we happened to sit next to each other at a Kappa Alpha Psi Founder’s Day Celebration. I did not have that foresight to predict that our incidental meeting would result in a nine-year friendship that would profoundly mold me into the man I am today and hope to be tomorrow. I will always be thankful for the privilege of having Judge Duncan as a mentor, role model, friend, and surrogate grandfather. During my last year, I wrote a case study on Judge Duncan’s life, for Professor Garry Jenkins’s Lawyers as Leaders course, and

spent countless hours talking to his colleagues and friends, researching his jurisprudence, and engaging the judge in an interview akin to Inside the Actors Studio sans the audience. The following words are my tribute to our beloved Judge Robert Morton Duncan: The gift that Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass bestowed upon the world; one of the ‘exceptional men’ that W.E.B. DuBois inducted into the Talented Tenth; classmate of Barbara Jordan, Constance

Baker Motley, and Thurgood Marshall; the prototype for legal excellence and civic engagement; Ohio’s very own Madiba, and the Conscience of Columbus. Husband. Father. Friend. Servant. Hero. Icon.”

By Michael T. Spencer ’06, Labor and Employee Relations Specialist, The District of Columbia Department of Health

Moritz College of Law | W I N T E R 2 0 1 3

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All Rise Winter 2013  

All Rise Winter 2013 - The Creepy Factor

All Rise Winter 2013  

All Rise Winter 2013 - The Creepy Factor

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