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In Memoriam: Chief Justice Joseph R. Weisberger (1920-2012)

University Trustee was instrumental in establishing the Roger Williams University School of Law
Photo by: David Silverman
Joseph Weisberger with his wife, Sylvia, and RWU Law Dean David Logan.

Bristol, R.I. – Retired Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph R. Weisberger ’92H, ’97H(Law) – a University Trustee and a central figure in the founding and development of the Roger Williams University School of Law – has died at the age of 92, according to Craig Berke, spokesman for the Rhode Island Judiciary.

“In coming days you will hear many accolades for Chief Justice Weisberger’s long and distinguished service to our state,” said RWU Law Dean David A. Logan. “But to me it is also personal: he was instrumental in the founding of this law school and was the first and longest-serving Chair of our Board of Directors. He was also a classic gentleman and a wonderful mentor to me.”

Chief Justice Weisberger served as chief justice from 1993 to 2001. Before that, he was a Superior Court judge; and prior to his appointment to the bench, he served as a Republican in the state Senate.

In 1991, Chief Justice Weisberger led the feasibility study that recommended establishing the Roger Williams University School of Law. In the years since his retirement, Weisberger had – besides chairing the law school's board of directors – also helped lead the court’s mediation program and served on the University’s Board of Trustees.

In 2007, Chief Justice Weisberger penned an essay titled “Roger Williams and Rhode Island’s Inferiority Complex,” on the occasion of RWU’s 50th anniversary.