In memoriam: Gustave Hauser LLM ’57

Gustave Hauser LLM ’57, co-founder of the Hauser Global Law School Program along with his wife, Law Trustee Rita Hauser, passed away on February 14 at the age of 91.

Gustave Hauser
Gustave Hauser LLM '57

The Hausers established the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU Law in 1995. For over 25 years, the Law School has invited outstanding graduate law students, distinguished academics, lawyers, government officials, and world-renowned intellectual leaders to New York to work, study, teach, and conduct research. The program has propelled NYU Law to the forefront of international legal education.

“Gus was a beloved member of the Law School community,” said Dean Trevor Morrison in a statement. “His vision and generosity deeply impacted NYU Law across many decades.”

Gustave Hauser earned his LLM from NYU Law in 1957 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Case Western Reserve University and a JD from Harvard Law School. He also earned a diplôme en droit (equivalent to a master’s degree) from the University of Paris. After completing his JD, Hauser was drafted into the Korean War, serving for 20 months on the faculty of the Army Military Police School.

Upon returning to the United States, Hauser joined the Office of the General Counsel to the Secretary of Defense as counsel to the International Security Agency. It was in this role that his career first intersected with communication satellites. Hauser was assigned to write the first paper that the US Defense Department originated assessing international legal rights and obligations concerning objects orbiting in space. “My chance Pentagon involvement with the earliest orbiting satellite somehow became a considerable lifetime involvement in what was to become a worldwide satellite communications industry,” he recalled in a 1999 interview for the Cable Television Center and Museum. 

After his time at the International Security Agency, Hauser began his career in the communications industry as a vice president of General Telephone & Electronics International, and then became executive vice president at Western Union International. In 1973, he was named CEO of Warner Cable Corporation, where he later served as chairman. At Warner, Hauser developed several cable programming innovations, including programming concepts leading to the creation of MTV, Nickelodeon, and pay-per-view programming. During that time, he was twice appointed by the president of the United States to serve as director-at-large of the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the US government’s development finance institution encouraging private foreign investment. In 1983, Hauser founded Hauser Communications, a private investment and operating company involved in cable television, international satellite, and other electronic communications.

Outside of NYU Law, Hauser’s philanthropy benefited organizations including the International Peace Academy (now the International Peace Institute), Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic, and the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media).

Gustave Hauser is survived by his wife of more than six decades, fellow NYU Law graduate Rita Hauser; their children, Glenvil Hauser and Ana Burtnett; son-in-law Daryl Burtnett; and a grandson, Gustave.

Posted February 18, 2021