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Dr. Peter Lawler holds court in his famously messy office.

COLLECTIVE MEMORY: Decades of Berry alumni can close their eyes and call to mind this image of the late Dr. Peter Lawler holding court in his famously messy office. Last fall, that space was named in his memory, and this spring, Dr. David Ramsey (01C) delivered the first Peter Augustine Lawler Lecture in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Rita Lawler and Dr. David Ramsey

Dr. David Ramsey, right, visits with Rita Lawler, widow of his longtime mentor.

It’s been two years since Dr. Peter Lawler’s unexpected death shocked the Berry community, but his influence continues to burn brightly in the lives of alumni and friends who were inspired by him.

Last fall, Lawler’s former office in Evans Hall was named in his memory – the result of an outpouring of gifts to the scholarship bearing his name – and this spring a former student and mentee, Dr. David Ramsey (01C), delivered the first Peter Augustine Lawler Lecture in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Ramsey, who has followed in Lawler’s footsteps as a professor of constitutional law and political philosophy at the University of West Florida, said the beloved professor is second only to his parents in influencing his life.

“My vocation is an imitation of his,” he said. “Peter Lawler touched my life at Berry in the most amazing ways. He gave freely of himself to his students and taught me that’s what teaching is about.”

Lawler, who taught at Berry for 38 years, was a nationally renowned political scholar and a prolific author and editor of more than 15 books. Appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics, Lawler was a recipient of the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Excellence and was honored as the George Washington Distinguished Professor of the American Founding by The Society of the Cincinnati, among other distinctions.

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