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KU Law community mourns passing of retired professors George Coggins and William Westerbeke

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Law community lost two long-time colleagues recently. Former KU Law professors George Coggins and William Westerbeke passed away during the week of August 26.

“Both George and Bill were dedicated teachers and generous colleagues. They added much to the KU Law community, and we will miss them greatly,” said Stephen Mazza, dean and professor of law. George Coggins at his retirement party in 2010

George Cameron Coggins came to KU Law in 1970 and taught for 40 years, making a name as a prolific scholar and an expert in the field of public natural resources law. He was named the Frank Edwards Tyler Distinguished Professor of Law in 1983 in recognition of his achievements in the areas of environmental law, wildlife law, national energy policy, and national public land and resources. Coggins received his J.D. from the University of Michigan School of Law and practiced with the San Francisco-based law firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enerson before coming to KU.

A celebration of Coggins’ life will take place at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Lawrence Public Library and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street Lawrence, Kansas 66044.

View George Coggins’ obituary | Read about Coggins’ time at KU Law in the Fall 2010 KU Law Magazine 

William Westerbeke teaching a final class

William E. Westerbeke joined the KU Law faculty in 1975. By the time he retired in 2016, he’d launched many legal careers, improved countless golf games, and received numerous teaching awards. A dedicated teacher known for his accessibility to students, he received the Dean Frederick J. Moreau Award for Student Counseling in 1987, the Immel Award for Teaching Excellence in 1987, the Robert A. Schroeder Teaching Fellowship (2001-04) and a William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2006. Westerbeke earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School. He served as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California and worked with the Los Angeles law firm of O’Melveny & Myers before coming to KU. 

A celebration of Westerbeke’s life is pending. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to the William Westerbeke Scholarship at the University of Kansas, Misericordia Home, or Lawrence Humane Society, sent in care to Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St, Lawrence, Kansas 66044.

View William Westerbeke’s obituaryRead about Westerbeke’s time at KU Law in the Spring 2017 KU Law Magazine