George Bunn, a former University of Wisconsin Law School Dean remembered for his passion and activism for nuclear disarmament, died Tuesday at age 87 in Palo Alto, Calif.
According to a UW statement, Bunn served the UW Law School from 1969 to 1986, and was dean of the school from 1972 to 1975.
The Bunn family has strong ties to UW’s Law School. The statement said Bunn had three relatives with ties to the Law School: Judge Romanzo Bunn, a lecturer in the 19th century; Charles Wilson Bunn, who earned his undergraduate and law degree from UW; and Charles (Bob) Bunn, who served as a UW Law School faculty member from 1934 to 1962.
The Gargoyle, the UW Law School’s alumni magazine, recognized the many contributions the four generations of the Bunn family gave to the Law School in a 1969 issue of the publication. The Gargoyle said Bunn earned his undergraduate degree from UW in engineering, and went on to earn his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1950.
After graduation, he spent a decade working in private practice. In 1961, he joined the President John F. Kennedy’s administration, serving as a counsel to the president’s advisers, the article said. He then began to work for disarmament, a lifelong passion, and served as an ambassador to the Disarmament Conference in Geneva, which created the non-proliferation treaty ratified by the United States in 1969, it said.
The article said Bunn had three children: Peter, Peggy and Matthew, with his wife at the time, Bonnie.
According to a statement from Stanford University, Bunn went on to work at their University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation for 20 years and was a highly respected and admired member of the community.
Peter Carstensen, a UW Law School professor who specializes in antitrust law and competition policy, said Bunn was the dean who hired him and because of this, he has always felt indebted to Bunn.
“He was a very good dean,” Carstensen said. “He left the deanship shortly after I arrived, but I have always had the greatest respect for him.”
UW Law School Professor Emeritus William Whitford, said he remembers Bunn for his activism, progressiveness and passion.
Both Whitford and Carstensen said they remembered Bunn for the work he did with nuclear disarmament.
Whitford said Bunn left a positive mark on UW’s Law School by introducing and implementing many progressive ideas.
As an example, Whitford cited Bunn’s passion for experiential learning, a method of teaching Bunn championed, where students learn through experiencing what they are meant to learn.
Whitford said medical schools had been doing this for a long time by requiring their students to work with patients. Bunn promoted teaching methods that would require lawyers in training to actually work with clients.
Bunn was also passionate about the environment, Whitford said. He said Bunn had one of the first solar panel installations on his home.
“That was his personality-he was just passionate about stuff,” Whitford said.