Robben W Fleming*
It is an article of faith in this nation's best universities that the
first and foremost position one can hold is that of a distinguished
and respected professor. Allan Smith fulfilled that faith in every re-
spect. Generations of students thought him superb. His colleagues
intensely admired his abilities. Scholars in his own field acclaimed
It is a part of the faith which any faculty has in its own that if
there have to be administrators they ought to come from the ranks of
those who have first made their mark as professors. And so Allan
Smith became Dean of the Law School. He served so well that the
University then asked him to be Vice President for Academic Af-
It was my great pleasure to serve as President of the University of
Michigan in a number of years in which Allan was the Vice Presi-
dent. Whether in the difficult era of student unrest, or in financial
crises, or in simply identifying a sensible path through the many is-
sues on which there can never be complete agreement, Allan was
without a peer. His keen mind always cut to the heart of the issue,
his compassion mellowed his judgment, and he had the courage to
stand up to criticism when he knew he was right.
Finally, after coming back to the Law School, Allan was called
upon to serve as Interim President of the University. His term was,
as everyone knew it would be, a triumph.
Rarely has the University of Michigan had so versatile a member
of its family. Perhaps most importantly, he has left with all of us
who have had the opportunity to work with him a feeling of great
affection, enormous respect, and a conviction that whatever else he
touches in the future will benefit enormously from his talents.
* President, Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
HeinOnline -- 79 Mich. L. Rev. 381 1980-1981