Universities have long lives and can keep the memory of extraordinary people for a very long time. And when a life ends too soon they can help to restore some of the lost time. But when Alan Rodger died at 66, it seemed too much time was lost. His work in Roman law was still ascending, even though it began at a level where most others finish, and his writings on the bench and elsewhere had made him an international star. Fortunately universities, though they tout other things, are especially suited to preserve intellectual legacies. Some fraction of Alan Rodger’s is now safe at the University of Glasgow, thanks to the generosity of his family, who have set up an endowment in his name.
Rodger matriculated at the University in 1961 and studied civil (Roman) law as part of his arts degree. He saw enough Roman law to want more, and went on to study for the LLB. This was when the Douglas Chair of Civil Law was held by Alan Watson — then as now an extraordinary scholar — and the timing could not have been better. With Watson’s encouragement Rodger went on to study with the famous David Daube, and from that time until his death Rodger was among the best known writers on Roman law and legal history in the world — his parallel, professional career notwithstanding.
An endowment needs a purpose, and here the decision was simple: what would make Alan Rodger smile? The answer is Roman law and legal history, represented in publications, traffic to and from Glasgow, and events. So the endowment is now co-sponsor, with the Ames Foundation at the Harvard Law School, of the periodical Roman Legal Tradition (Rodger was a member of the editorial board). The endowment is also supporting a new visiting post, open to postgraduates who wish to spend a term in Glasgow.
We hope it will continue for a very long time. Anyone may contribute: the details are on our web page. Any other queries should come to Prof E Metzger, firstname.lastname@example.org. Our thanks to the Development and Alumni Office, the Finance and Procurement Office, and the Graduate School of the College of Social Sciences, for their time and efficiency in moving this along.
And for helping the School of Law to honour one of its most extraordinary graduates, we’re grateful to the Rodger family more than we can say.