Anne Proffitt Dupre (1952 – 2011): A Eulogy

Standard

Anne Proffitt Dupre

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. – Khalil Gibran

I was deeply, deeply saddened to learn that Professor Anne Proffitt Dupre of UGA Law School died early Tuesday morning. Professor Dupre inspired her students because she expected the best and she had no patience for anything less. And, of course, she cared. She really cared about her students. This is a great loss to the law school, but even more so, a loss to all of us who had the privilege to know her.

Professor Dupre and I had a special, first-day relationship. Our section was her first – both her first year teaching, and the very first class she taught. And I was the first student she called on. If you’ve been to law school, you’ll understand that being “called on” can mean (as it did in this case) 55 minutes of grueling cross-examination, standing up (no sitting for Professor Dupre, at least not as a first year) in front of 70 people you’ve just met and who you just know are evaluating every word you say and thinking “Really? She sounds like a complete moron. Did she read at all? Or is she just that dumb?” Naturally, I was terrified. And so, as it turned out, was Professor Dupre. She told me later how she’d worried over that first day, that first student to be called on. What would happen if she picked someone who was unprepared or who couldn’t take the pressure? Her whole plan for the lesson required an interaction, a question and answer. A conversation. So, strangely, she was perhaps as relieved to have picked me as I was intimidated to be chosen. She scared the heck out of us, but she was human.

But I had so much more to learn. When I walked into class that first morning, I’d been proud that I’d even read the cases for the first day (Who does real work on the first day, right?). When I walked out, I knew that this class and this professor would challenge my intellect in a way I’d never experienced before. She made me into a thinker. She brought out the best in me. I’ll always be grateful to Professor Dupre for that.

For more on Professor Dupre’s impact on others, please visit the University of Georgia Law School’s memorial page. For her full obituary, detailing her many accomplishments, see here and here.  She will truly be missed.

Advertisements

5 responses »

  1. Thanks Juliana for writing this. I remember that day so clearly and especially recall being so thankful she didn’t call on me. Of all my law school professors, she impressed me the most. Not only was she brilliant and accomplished, but she really did care about her students and it came through in her teaching.

    Andrea Solomon Hirsch (Class of 97)

    • Yes, I think a lot of people were glad it wasn’t them! 🙂 And, yes, more than any other of my law school professors, I knew that Professor Dupre cared about us. I guess that’s what made this news so hard to take.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, my heart is breaking over the loss of Prof. Dupre. It seems that words are simply not enough at thsi time.

    Lori Daigle Barker (Class of 08)

  3. She will be greatly missed..- Ginny Garrard Ingels J.D.07 ..I remember the first day of Contracts and being so utterly scared and yet enamored by the professor. I have many favorite moments from classes with Professor Dupre including the constant rivalry jokes between her Professor Eaton and Dean Kurtz but one of my favorite moments during the year was in the beginning of the spring semester right after we received some of the first of our 1L grades. When Section X came back into our Contracts classroom the day after we received our first 1L grades nobody knew what to say to one another or what to do. At the beginning of our first year Professor Dupre instilled a level of fear in us all having started the year firing questions at a luckily very well prepared student.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s