In Memoriam: Charles O. Galvin, Centennial Professor of Law Emeritus

Jan 31, 2011

Charles O’Neill Galvin died on Thursday, January 27, of complications resulting from pneumonia. Professor Galvin, who was 91, was the Centennial Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School from 1983-90.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Professor  Galvin earned a B.S. in commerce from Southern Methodist University, a J.D. and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University, and an S.J.D. from Harvard. He also held honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Capital University and SMU.

Professor Galvin served four years in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theatre during World War II and was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant Commander. He then practiced law with the Dallas firm of Leachman Matthews and Gardere from 1947-52 before entering the academy; he was professor of law at SMU from 1952-83 and served as Dean of SMU Dedman School of Law from 1963-78.

In addition to serving as Vanderbilt’s Centennial Professor of Law, he also served as Executive in Residence at Vanderbilt from 1990-94. Professor  Galvin also taught at the law schools of Michigan, Harvard, Duke, Pepperdine, Kansas and Texas as well as the business schools of Northwestern University and SMU. He was a Distinguished Professor of Law, Emeritus, at SMU.

In retirement, he was most recently of counsel to Haynes and Boone in Dallas.

Professor Galvin had been a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, Order of the Coif, and the Phi Delta Theta Social Fraternity. He was honored with the Intellectual Leadership award from the National Council of Catholic Men; the Equal Justice Award of Legal services of North Texas; the John Rogers award from the Southwestern Legal Foundation; and the Outstanding Tax Lawyer of the Year 2010 Award from the State Bar of Texas. In 2004, Professor Galvin was one of five lawyers honored by the Texas Bar Foundation for 50 years of practice. He and his wife, Peggy, received the McGill Award from the Catholic Foundation of Dallas, an organization he helped established, and the Catholic Charities Award for their service to the church and community.

Professor  Galvin was a member of the American Bar Association, the American Bar Foundation, the American Law Institute, the American Judicature Society, the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society, the American Tax Policy Institute, the  Southwestern Legal Foundation, the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association, the Texas Society of CPAs, and the Philosophical Society of Texas. He served on the President’s Commission on Drug Abuse, the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools, ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and the Investment Oversight Group, Law School Admission Services. He chaired the War on Poverty Program for Dallas County and the Magnet School Committee of DISD.

A tax policy expert, Professor  Galvin testified before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and was twice appointed to the Advisory Group of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and acted as consultant to the U.S. Treasury Department. He was co-editor of the Texas Will Manual, tax editor of Oil & Gas Reporter, author of the Estate Planning Manual and of numerous professional articles, and a frequent lecturer on taxation and tax policy. He served on the boards of Lomas & Nettleton Mortgage Investors, North Park National Bank, State Farm Insurance, and was trustee and president of Holy Trinity Seminary.

Professor Galvin is survived by his wife, Margaret (Peggy), their five children, and nine grandchildren. A funeral mass was held on January 31 in Dallas.


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