Baylor Law School has unveiled a bronze bust depicting the late Dean Angus McSwain.
The bronze, unveiled on Oct. 4, was a yearlong labor of love by members of the Baylor Law School Class of 1972. The effort was led by Professor Tom Featherston and his friend and former classmate, Pat Shaw (JD '72), as well as John Mosley, Lou Sandbote, Arnie Cavazos, and Hal Laine.
"Last summer, Pat and I were talking about Dean McSwain and agreed that something special should be done to honor him so that future generations of Baylor Law students would know who he was and what he meant and still means to the Law School," Professor Featherston said. "He was not only the Dean, but also our teacher, a mentor, and our friend."
Dean McSwain passed away in May 2011. He earned his LLB in 1949 from Baylor Law, where he was first in his class. He later earned an LLM from the University of Michigan Law School. He served as a professor of law at Baylor from 1949-1965, when he became dean. Dean McSwain would lead the Baylor Law School for the next 19 years. Dean McSwain returned to full-time teaching in 1984 and was named the Gov. Bill and Vara Faye Daniel Chair of Property Law in 1985. In 1990, he was designated a master teacher, the highest honor granted to Baylor faculty members. Although he officially "retired" in 1994, Dean McSwain continued to teach until 2008 -- a total of 59 years.
Having always admired the bronze bust of Judge Abner V. McCall that resides on the third floor of the Law School, Professor Featherston suggested a similar tribute to Dean McSwain. Professor Featherston and Shaw then invited other members of the Class of 1972 to help raise money to pay for the sculpture, which was created by Clifton-based artist Bruce Greene.
"We had a great response and the cost of the bronze was raised," Professor Featherston said.
Among the attendees at the unveiling were Dean McSwain's son, Andy McSwain (JD '84), and Baylor University President Kenneth W. Starr. The bronze now stands alongside that of Judge McCall.
Although not a member of the Class of 1972, Baylor Law's Practice Court Director Jerry Powell attended Baylor Law during Dean McSwain's tenure. He echoes Professor Featherston's admiration for the late dean.
"Dean Angus McSwain is the stuff of legends at Baylor," Professor Powell said. "He was one of the most knowledgeable men I have ever known, and not just about the law of property. He was the complete scholar. I could, and regularly did, listen to him discuss with great intelligence matters of law, history, science, religion, and of life itself. But he was also a genuinely modest, kind, and caring man. Oh, and he could tell a really good story too. In so many positive ways Dean McSwain influenced the lives of generations of Baylor Lawyers."