FSU College of Law alumni endow $1 million chair to honor dean

Florida State University Provost Larry Abele has appointed Dean Don Weidner to the newly created Alumni Centennial Chair at the College of Law. The Chair—endowed in excess of $1 million—was established by several alumni to honor Weidner for his many years of leadership at the law school.

Weidner will hold the Chair for as long as he is a member of the faculty. When he retires, the Chair will be renamed the Donald J. Weidner Chair and will be used to support the sitting dean of the law school. Weidner served as dean of the law school from 1991-1997, interim dean from 1998-2000, and as dean from 2000 to the present.

The effort to endow the Chair was spearheaded by Ed Walborsky, a 1979 graduate and outgoing president of the College of Law’s alumni association. He announced the creation of the endowment last week at The Florida Bar convention in Orlando.

"We believe that the great strides our law school has made are directly linked to the passion, wisdom and tireless efforts of Dean Weidner," Walborsky said. "For some time, we have thought of doing something meaningful for Don to show how much we appreciate all he has done for the law school. He is one of the few deans at a national law school who sits without an endowed chair. We found that disconcerting, and decided that our mission was to endow a chair in excess of $1 million."

Weidner joined the College of Law in 1976 as a professor. Since he became dean in 1991, the law school has shown significant increases in faculty scholarly productivity, student credentials, private funding and national rankings. Program strength has been added in environmental law, international law and business.

"I am deeply moved and profoundly grateful for this Chair, which is by far the greatest honor of my professional life," Weidner said.

A recognized authority on partnerships, fiduciary duties, and real estate finance, Weidner is co-author of The Revised Uniform Partnership Act (West Group, 2004). He also has written on academic freedom and on the use of special purpose entities for off-balance sheet financing. He teaches Property, Agency and Partnership, and Real Estate Finance. He is a member of the American Law Institute and served as Reporter for the Revised Uniform Partnership Act, which has been adopted in more than 30 states.

Weidner also has been a visiting professor at the law schools of University of Texas, University of New Mexico, Stanford University, and University of North Carolina. He began his legal career at the New York firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Weidner is an honors graduate of University of Texas Law School, where he was project editor for Texas Law Review.

In addition to Walborsky, donors include Chris Cadenhead, Wayne and Pat Hogan, David and Deborah Fonvielle, Phil and Rita Blank, Sheila McDevitt, Buck and Donna Vocelle, Tom Scarritt, Mark Williamson, Judge Terry Terrell, Larry Beltz and Rick and Karen Torpy.