A Memorial Tribute to Professor John Kidwell

John Kidwell

Honoring John Kidwell

On March 10, 2012, UW Law School lost a beloved law professor. Friends and family joined the Law School community to remember John’s contributions to the school and the Wisconsin Bar on Friday, September 28, 2012. 

About John Kidwell

John was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1945. He grew up in Custer, South Dakota. After high school, he attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for two years, contemplating a degree in physics. But he changed his plans when ". . . I encountered The Calculus, and The Calculus won." He transferred to the University of Iowa and majored in English, receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa in 1967 (with distinction, Honors Program, Phi Beta Kappa). He attended Harvard Law School and received his JD in 1970 (cum laude). He took a job as an associate with the Denver, Colorado law firm of Dawson, Nagel, Sherman & Howard.

John joined the University of Wisconsin Law faculty in 1972 as an assistant professor, and except for a year as a Fellow in Law and Humanities at Harvard University in 1976-77, remained here continuously throughout his entire career. He served as associate dean for academic affairs from 2002-2005. John retired from the full-time faculty in June 2005.

John taught courses dealing with the law of contracts, remedies, copyrights, and trademarks. In 1992, he received the Emil H. Steiger Award for Teaching Excellence, and in 1997 was chosen Teacher of the Year by the Wisconsin Law Alumni Association. He was a co-author of Contracts: Law in Action, a casebook on contract law published by Lexis/Nexis. He was also a co-author of Property: Cases and Materials, published by Aspen Publishers.

John published articles on the law of torts, contracts and intellectual property. He was actively involved in committee and administrative work at the departmental, campus and university levels, and served on a number of committees of the State Bar of Wisconsin. He served as a special advisor to the University of Wisconsin in creating a distribution system for educational software, and chaired a university committee to revise the rules and procedures for dealing with academic misconduct. He served as a member, and ultimately chair, of the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners. He was a member of the Testing Policy Committee of the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

He was married to Jean Kidwell, and had a son, Ben. He enjoyed reading, listening to music, idle conversation and the game of poker.

Memorial Tribute Video

A password-protected video of the memorial tribute is now available. For access, please contact Lynn Thompson at lfthomp1@wisc.edu.

The John Kidwell Student Support Fund

A fund for student support has been established at the University Foundation in John Kidwell’s name.If you would like to donate in his honor, contact Eric Salisbury, 608-263-6669. You can also make a gift online or by sending a check, payable to University of Wisconsin Foundation-Kidwell Fund to University of Wisconsin Foundation, U.S. Bank Lockbox, PO Box 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807.

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