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In Memory of Ted Brown

Ted BrownIf you were an undergraduate student who was thinking of going to law school at any time in the last twelve years, chances are that you had a course or at least some contact with Ted Brown. He taught a variety of pre-law courses to rave reviews from his students.

Ted Brown, senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science, passed away July 3, 2018. Brown taught constitutional law, civil rights and liberties, judicial processes, Tennessee government, and law in American society. He was also an adjunct professor of law in the College of Law. 

The faculty and staff of the political science department (as well as students) were shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of our colleague and friend. Brown was an important member of the university community. His loss will be felt for years to come. 

Born in Memphis in 1949, Brown grew up in Etowah, Tennessee. He was valedictorian at McMinn County Central High School in 1967. Brown majored in history at UT and graduated summa cum laude in 1971. After graduation, he served as a staff member for US Senator Albert Gore, Sr. He then attended law school at Vanderbilt, earning his JD in 1978. After 25 years practicing law in Atlanta, Ted returned to UT in 2006 to begin his second career—a college professor.

Brown was universally respected and admired, indeed loved, by the many students he taught over his 12 years as a member of the UT faculty. He demanded a lot of his students, but his classes were always full. Brown expected his students to come to class ready to argue over the cases and readings they had been assigned. His classes were famous for their vigorous debates on constitutional issues. Students would be pushed to defend their positions. In that respect, political science undergraduates were given a preview of what law school would be like should they choose to follow that path. Brown was often labelled “old school” – a label he relished.

Brown was a fine scholar who produced a number of law review articles, book chapters, biographical sketches, book reviews, and encyclopedia entries. His most recent project, yet to be completed, was a book about Tennessee Senator (and vice presidential candidate) Estes Kefauver. Brown was an expert on Kefauver, and his research, writing, and speaking about the Senator constituted a lifelong project. As an undergraduate at UT, Ted organized and catalogued Senator Kefauver's papers. His interview discussing Senator Kefauver's renowned investigation of organized crime was included in the A&E documentary Las Vegas and the Power of Money, which aired in 2002.

Brown was likewise incredibly well respected by the members of the federal and state bench and bar associations. He enjoyed the reputation as the consummate attorney who was not only a razor-sharp litigator in possession of an encyclopedic knowledge of the law, but someone who consistently maintained the highest ethical standards.

Everyone affiliated with the political science department, as well as the College of Law, will fondly remember his signature bow tie, his warmth and good humor, his professionalism, and above all, the depth of his commitment to the academic enterprise. Rest in peace, Ted.

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