Memorial Tribute to Thomas M. Franck
October 28, 2009
New York University School of Law
Watch the complete recording from this event (1hr, 6mins). Event program is below.
Dean and Lawrence King Professor of Law,
NYU School of Law
Tributes and Remembrances
Judith G. Friedlaender ’76
Attorney and Consultant
Assistant to Professor Franck, 1965–2009
Thomas Buergenthal ’60
Judge, International Court of Justice
“Rossignol, mon mignon,”
from Deux Poèmes de Ronsard, Op. 26, No. 1
by Albert Roussel
Ardith Bondi, flute
Rebecca Osborn, viola
Harold H. Koh
Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State;
Dean, Yale Law School, 2004–09
Michael J. Glennon
Professor of International Law,
Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University
Miriam Sapiro ’86
Nominee, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative;
Adjunct Professor, NYU School of Law;
Co-taught Recourse to Force in International Law with
Professor Franck, 2003-07
Frederick I. and Grace A. Stokes Professor of Law, NYU School of Law;
Counselor to the President, New York University
Thomas Martin Franck 1931-2009
Tom was a luminary in the field of international law. He made landmark contributions to legal scholarship and practice, on issues as varied as the international implications of national constitutions, the use of force, and the conceptual foundations of personal identity and of nationalism. Through his expansive teaching and writing, Tom made a profound impact on numerous people and institutions.
He acted as legal adviser or counsel to many foreign governments, including Kenya, Mauritius, the Solomon Islands, El Salvador, and Chad. A proponent of decolonization, he worked on the constitutions of the African nations that would become Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone. He was an advocate before the International Court of Justice, where he successfully represented Chad and Bosnia in a suit brought against Serbia under the Genocide Convention, served as a judge ad hoc before the World Court, and sat on the Department of State Advisory Committee on International Law. He served as director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s International Law Program from 1973 to 1979, and from 1980 to 1982, as director of research at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
The author of more than 30 books and innumerable articles, addresses, legal arguments and judgments, Tom was a two-time Guggenheim Fellowship winner. He was also awarded the Christopher Medal for his book Resignation in Protest, the Hudson Medal of the American Society of International Law, and the Read Medal of the Canadian Council of International Law. A revered figure in the field, Tom was recently named honorary president of the American Society of International Law, after previously serving as president from 1998 to 2000 and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of International Law from 1984 to 1993.
Born in Berlin on July 14, 1931, Tom was the only child of Hugo and Ilse Franck. He and his family fled Germany in November 1938, just before Kristallnacht. After a brief stay in Switzerland, they emigrated to Vancouver. Tom received his bachelor’s degree in 1952 and his first law degree in 1953, both from the University of British Columbia; during two of these years he also served as a lieutenant in the Canadian Army. He earned a master of laws degree in 1954 and a doctorate of juridical science in 1959, both from Harvard. In 1954 he began his brilliant academic career as an assistant professor at the university of Nebraska. He joined the New York University School of Law in 1960 and served as the director of the Center for International Studies from 1965 until his retirement in 2002. Under his leadership, the center trained hundreds of students in international law, hosted numerous distinguished visitors, and produced a vast body of influential research.
Tom was a prolific scholar, a dedicated teacher, a generous colleague, and a beloved member of the Law School community. He deepened our understanding of the vocation of an international law academic, committed until the very end to advancing the values that animated his life’s work. He inspired generations of students, scholars, and faculty, and will be deeply missed.
To honor our esteemed teacher, colleague, and friend, the NYU School of Law has established the Thomas M. Franck Fellowship in International Law. If you would like to contribute, please make your check payable to “NYU School of Law” and mail it to:
Thomas M. Franck Fellowship in International Law
Office of Development and Alumni Relations
NYU School of Law
161 Avenue of the Americas, 5th floor
New York, NY 10013
If you have any questions about the fellowship or making a contribution, please contact Marsha Metrinko, Senior Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.998.6485.
Posted on October 27, 2009