In Memoriam: My Dear Friend and Colleague Ian Kerr

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In Memoriam: My Dear Friend and Colleague Ian Kerr

Nearly twenty years ago, Ian Kerr was a rising star in the law and technology field at the University of Western Ontario. He had already published on the role of computers as intelligent agents in the nascent world of electronic commerce and was crafting new courses examining the legal and ethical challenges posed by machines and the law. In the fall of 1999 – about a year after I had arrived at Ottawa – he agreed to a visit to consider coming to help build a leading program focused on law and tech. I spent the day trying to convince Ian to come, offering tours of the law school, the city’s foodie hot spots, and a dinner at my house. My closing argument was that no matter his decision, this was going to happen since Ottawa was ideally situated to lead on tech law and policy and that there was no better place for him, personally or professionally.

I’m heartened that Ian told me during my last visit with him at the Ottawa Hospital that the decision was one of the best he ever made. But I was wrong. This wasn’t just going to happen. It happened because Ian – my colleague, friend, advisor, and professional partner – made it so.

Ian passed away last night after months of battling complications from cancer. He was a singular talent, whose impact not just on the field, but on everyone he worked with, taught, mentored, or lectured will be felt for decades to come.

He was a prescient scholar who proposed the title of Canada Research Chair in Law, Ethics, and Technology years before the ethical implications of technologies would emerge as a widespread societal issue. His work spanned so many issues – robotics and the law, artificial intelligence, privacy, surveillance, security, digital rights management, algorithms, electronic contracting, human rights, and human enhancement – that he needed to reshape the standard approach to the reporting of academic achievement in order to convey even a fraction of his prodigious output, while his four-way cross-appointment to law, medicine, information studies, and philosophy reflected a commitment to the study of law and ethics beyond the law school.

He was an extraordinary teacher, who won awards everywhere he went, leaving his students with indelible memories of opening music to set the tone, visually remarkable slides and multimedia materials that challenged students to think in new ways, and an engaging lecture approach that endeavoured to bring out the best in everyone. That teaching extended to the entire globe: teaching the world’s data protection and privacy commissioners on the privacy and technology at their annual conference in Morocco in 2016, delivering keynote addresses in countries around the world from Iceland to Singapore, and serving as a visiting professor at institutions such as New York University, Tel Aviv University, the University of Haifa, Pompeu Fabra University in Spain, and Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

He was a great builder, who brought vision and passion to creating new models for teaching, research, and student exchange. It was Ian that led to the creation of our LL.M. in Law and Technology that counts hundreds of students as past alumni. It was Ian that developed the much-beloved Techno-Rico course with the University of Puerto Rico that serves as model for many other courses including mine with the University of Haifa. It was Ian that led the quintessential multi-disciplinary large scale research project with ID Trail, a multi-million dollar initiative that launched many new careers, publications, and provided the roadmap for inclusive, forward-looking, team-based research projects. And it was Ian that worked with successive deans – Bruce, Nathalie, and Adam – on hiring, programming, and a myriad of other issues.

He was a dynamic leader, the heart and soul of the technology law program that blossomed years after we envisioned it around the kitchen table. For the amazing group of professors, program directors, research managers, and supporters, there were no limits to Ian’s generosity and his advice, enthusiasm, and support represented the not-so-secret sauce behind our success.

He was an exceptional advocate, changing the law through his scholarship and tireless efforts. Whether quoted by the Supreme Court of Canada, on the floor of the House of Commons, or in government reports, Ian not only identified the legal challenges associated with law and technology, he influenced the solutions. His work on supporting a global ban on Lethal Autonomous Weapons brought him to the United Nations for an address to member states and succeeded in convincing some of the world’s greatest computer scientists to join him at the policy table.

He was a pioneer, joining forces in 2012 with Michael Froomkin, Ryan Calo, and Markus Wagner to launch the first We Robot conference. That event has since become the leading conference of its kind, resulting in ground-breaking scholarship and a generation of new scholars in the robotics law field. It was one of Ian’s proudest achievements that We Robot will come to Ottawa for the first time next year.

It is tempting – indeed deserving – to focus on a truly breathtaking record of academic achievement. Ian was widely recognized as a global leader and brought enormous pride to all of his colleagues. He was one of us and showed how Canadians can thrive on the world stage. Yet Ian’s towering career does not tell the most important part of the story nor explain why his loss is so difficult.

It was Ian the person, the mentor, the collaborator, the friend, that sparkles the most from this brightest of stars. He was a creative genius, equally comfortable baking challahs, reciting poetic rock lyrics, or drumming in a band as he was on the biggest academic stage. Earlier this year, he generously provided me with his Canada Research Chair renewal application in order to assist with my own. What stands out in those documents was his incredible love for, and commitment to, his colleagues and students. Over just the last decade, he co-authored pieces with Jena McGill, Katie Szilagyi, Katie Black, Jason Millar, Carys Craig, Jennifer Chandler, Timothy Caufield, Carissima Mathen, Noel Corriveau, Michael Froomkin, Joelle Pineau, Jennifer Barrigar, Jacqueline Burkell, Alex Cameron, Jessica Earle, and Daphne Gilbert. He co-edited works with Mitchell McInnes, Tony VanDuzer, Ryan Calo, Michael Froomkin, Valerie Steeves, Carole Lucock, and Jason Millar. It is an astonishing record of collaboration, demonstrating how Ian was most at home working with others, sharing with others, and ensuring that the spotlight was on others.

You didn’t have to write with Ian to know about his generosity, however. I have never met a colleague more willing to share his work or time. His supervisions of graduate students is legendary with members of the Kerr graduate family holding prominent posts at universities around the world. His research assistants and classroom students held a particularly special place in his heart as evidenced by watching Ian continuously pop up and down during convocation as a steady stream of students invariably saved their biggest smile for his enthusiastic, warm embrace as they crossed the stage.

Of course, Ian reserved his biggest smiles and love for his family. A number of years ago, I convinced him to join my fantasy football league. He said yes, not because he was big football fan, but rather because he saw it as a great opportunity to play with his father, who was back home in Calgary. The Steel Kerrtains never managed to snag a title, but Ian had an entirely different goal in mind.

When I last saw Ian in the ICU ward, the talk quickly turned to Erin and Ruby. He pointed to their pictures on the hospital wall, noting that his family was his most important success story as his love for them – and them him – meant everything. They gave him the strength to fight his terrible disease and family life provided the fulfillment and happiness that he wished for everyone.

Last month, about two weeks after Ian was back in the hospital, I ran into our colleague Vanessa Gruben in the law school foyer. Vanessa told me that Ian had been moved to ICU hours before and that the situation was not good. I walked up to my office numbed by the news and as I opened the hallway door that leads to my office, I looked down the hall as I always do. It was then that I realized that for the past twenty years, the first thing I have done when I enter the hallway is look to see if the door to Ian’s office – just two down from mine – was cracked open with some light shining through. I’m not totally sure why. Sometimes I would pop in to say hi, sometimes not. But there was something reassuring knowing that my friend and partner was there. I don’t think I’ll ever stop looking for that light.

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70 Comments

  1. Great note, Michael. This is very sad news. I have known Ian from his Western days and was constantly impressed by where his active mind and curiosity would take him.

  2. Very sad to hear about Ian. He was an exceptional speaker and always enlighted his audience. He will be greatly missed.

  3. thank you for sharing michael.

    ian and I were born a month apart in calgary. our parents were best of friends as were we and as are our older sisters.

    he grew up in a warm and loving household. his parents understood the value of family – and they made everyone around them feel warm and comfortable. I used to visit every summer coming from vancouver and spending a week or two with “uncle” morley and “auntie” eta.

    the qualities you describe of our mutual friend began to show themselves early in life. wherever he went, he brought life to the world around him.

    he has left us far too early – and i know he had so much more to give this crazy world. he will be sorely missed.

    in his honour i write this short note in all lower case. if only I could use orange font….

    rest in peace my good friend. may your memory be for a blessing.

  4. Marilyn Vescio says:

    Beautifully written Michael. Your friend sounds like an amazing individual who gave his all to everyone and everthing. You are very blessed to have had such a good person in your life. Remember that the next time you look down the hall.

  5. Jenn barrigar says:

    What a lovely tribute Michael….thank you for sharing..

    Alav hashalom

  6. Melissa Arseniuk says:

    Thank you for this beautiful tribute. I’m at a loss for words, but you said it all so well. There really were no limits to Ian’s generosity and his advice, enthusiasm, and support. He helped me, pushed me, and encouraged me like no one else. We are all so lucky to have known and learned from him, and so deeply sad now that he is gone.

  7. My heart is broken to learn of Professor Kerr’s passing. It was as a part of his class that I first ventured to Puerto Rico to learn together in one of the most dynamic courses I have ever attended. Outside of the classroom the trip built friendships and in my case, it lead my sister and now brother in law to meet. Their family has recently grown with the birth of my little nephew. It all started with Professor Kerr’s Technorico class years ago.

    May his memory be a blessing.

  8. Jason Young says:

    A lovely, moving and fitting tribute to Ian, Michael. Please accept my sympathies and know that you do not mourn alone.

  9. Thank you for this, Michael. Such a lovely tribute for such a great soul.

  10. Jeffrey N Huberman Law Corporation says:

    Very, very well said. What a blessing to have known him.

  11. Lilian Edwards says:

    This is so sad Michael. I’m sorry – I didn’t know Ian but his reputation spoke for itself
    Condolences
    Lilian

  12. Jeff Huberman says:

    Beautifully said. I feel blessed to have known him.

  13. Gilles Patry says:

    I am deeply saddened to learn that Ian passed away. He was such a great person and a wonderful colleague. I remember welcoming him to the University of Ottawa when I was Vice-President Academic – I knew then that he would do great things and have a lasting influence on the Faculty of Law and the University of Ottawa. Thank you Michael for writing such a lovely tribute. Bon courage!
    Gilles

  14. Gabrielle Giroday says:

    A beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing. Reading about legal pioneers is important, and meaningful, and gives life to people we may not have encountered personally, but whose work made a difference in out lives.
    Gabrielle Giroday

  15. His death just makes me so sad. I only met Ian once last fall. We were on a panel on AI together, and we met for a quick dinner beforehand. He was so lovely, wise, lively and generous…I was really hoping to meet with him again though I am sure many have felt this. I was just reading his work on “The Death of an AI Author” when I can across the news. What a terrible loss for you Michael and what a beautiful tribute for your dear friend.

  16. Esther Chetner says:

    Exquisitely written, profoundly expressed. Thank you for your touching, loving tribute.

    I met Ian as a toddler; Sheryl and I are friends from that long ago. Ian was a playful kid with the biggest head of curly hair imaginable. A sparkly magician, who grew up and carried exponential magic with him wherever he went, with whoever he connected.

    May memories of Ian inspire all who knew him, and beyond, for many years to come.

    💙

  17. Andrew Bjerring says:

    I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Ian’s passing Michael. Thank you for writing such a moving tribute.

  18. Penelope Simons says:

    This is a lovely moving tribute to our dear friend. Thank you, Michael.

  19. Ruben Benmergui says:

    A wonderful tribute. I first met Ian because my spouse Louisa Garib attended the Law School at U of O. Although I was a complete stranger, his trademark instant warmth and welcome for anyone he met, was all embracing. Whether contact was sporadic or continuing, one could never help but be infected by his cheer, empathy, knowledge and brilliant scholarship.

    May his memory be a blessing for all.
    Baruch Dayan Haemet
    Ruben Benmergui
    Ottawa

  20. Wade Sabados says:

    I was once called out for intellectual dishonesty by Ian. My transgression was corrected yet afterwards, to remind me of the magnitude of my decisions in life, Ian would affectionately call me Mendel (after the fruit fly counting geneticist).

    This happened in grade 7 auto-mechanics. I laugh out loud thinking about it. I am blessed to have been affected by Ian and today be able to teach my 13 year old sons the importance of intellectual integrity.

    We all make splashes in the pool. Ian’s was enormous.

    Michael, your note allows me to smile through my tears.

  21. Michael,
    I just heard about Ian’s death and am devastated. He (and you!) were such a big part of my legal foundation and helped guide me on my current path.
    I’m truly grateful to have had the opportunity to know and work closely for Ian way back when. He was selfless and passionate and cared so deeply about the people around him – it was evident in everything he did. Ian’s spirit will live on in his students and those he touched.
    Thank you so much for writing this lovely tribute.

  22. I am so sad to hear about Ian’s passing. His loss is a heavy one for everyone who knew him and loved him. I think his menschlichkeit will be most remembered and missed.

    I am so very sorry for your difficult loss, Michael.
    May his memory be a blessing.

  23. Syd Usprich says:

    I recall Ian fondly from his Western days and was deeply saddened to learn of his passing. My heart goes out to his family.

    Your remembrance piece was beautiful and touching. Thank you for sharing it with all of us who had the pleasure of knowing Ian.

    Professor Emeritus S. J. “Syd” Usprich
    Faculty of Law
    University of Western Ontario

    • Philippe Gauvin says:

      Thanks for the beautiful tribute and for letting us all know of this great tragedy Michael. When I think of Ian I think of him smiling with a twinkle in his eye declaring that his favorite movie was When Harry Met Sally. A good judge of character if ever there was one.

      I honestly only have good memories of him, his perpetual smile and his generosity with students and colleagues. My condolences to you and his family.

  24. Thanks for this deeply moving and delightful tribute to a good soul whom I respected tremendously for the same kinds of reasons that you enumerate — though, of course, I was nowhere near as close as you, Michael. I admired Ian’s creativity and relished his humour but it was his openness and oh-so-friendly collegiality that leaves the most lasting impression.

  25. Cherolyn Knapp says:

    Thank you for writing this Micheal. I am shaken by this news. I was fortunate to be in Ian’s first year contract class the year he (and I) started at U of O. He brought me on as a research assistant that first summer. He was a mentor and teacher in every way. I am sorry for they loss of your good friend and I am so sad for Erin and Ruby. And for all of us whose lives he touched. Rest In Peace.

  26. Melanie Mortensen says:

    I am so sorry to hear this news, Michael. Your words are so touching and convey such a beautiful, touching portrait of Ian. What a huge loss for his family, friends and so many students. He was a friend to all, an inspiration and a model of brilliance, creativity, kindness and humility. He was an influence in my life and I wouldn’t be doing what I do now if it weren’t for his inspirational contact with me back in 2002. My condolences to you all. May his memory be a blessing.

  27. Joel Cohen says:

    Thank you for this and the chain it provides for his many friends, colleague and family. I was lucky enough to know Ian almost my entire life, friends from elementary school on. Aside from being smart, he was generous, fun, funny, a drummer, a pizza sommelier, a wanna-be golfer and hockey player (as we all are), he had a big laugh and a quick wit. I’m not smart enough to appreciate his career, but thankful to have known the man. Ruby and Erin, my condolences. Ian, my thanks.

  28. Marvin Harik says:

    What a sad news. My heart is broken to learn of Professor Kerr’s passing. His work was remarkable, including on privacy issues. He is leaving us way too soon. May he rest in peace. He will be fondly remembered by many generations of law students and practitioners.

  29. David Crowe says:

    Professor Kerr was more than my teacher – he was a mentor, and a friend. I am deeply saddened by this news, but gladdened by your heartfelt and fitting tribute to him.

  30. Michelle Chibba says:

    Such sad news but what a wonderful uplifting tribute! I will always remember Ian’s witty and entertaining presentations on big privacy issues. With deepest condolences to you Michael, his dear friend and Ian’s family. Without a doubt, Ian leaves a legacy in the privacy world. Godspeed.

  31. Andre Vellino says:

    Please accept my sincere condolences Michael. Your beautiful tribute to him is a testament to your affection and respect for him. If even I will miss him greatly – and I was several buildings away and saw him only a few times a year – I can’t imagine what a loss it is for a day-to-day colleague and friend. Thank you for coaxing him into being a member of our community and making it possible for him to shine.

  32. Jack Nagler says:

    This is a terrific tribute to Ian – one thing I especially love is how it captures two traits evident in him since we were kids.

    One is that Ian was irrepressible. He dreamed new ideas in his work, and schemed new ways to make you laugh – or take the starch out of you when you deserved it. His energy shone constantly, and his mind was so nimble that he simply couldn’t be outsmarted.

    The other was his limitless ability to connect. He seemed to have a different set of inside jokes with each of us. Even though there were times I went years without seeing him him, there was always something “ours” as soon as we were together – and he never let his professional status prevent him from embracing the silly side that made him so much fun to be with.

  33. Sad news indeed! Thank you for such a wonderful tribute. You captured everything that was good about him. He will be missed in the privacy community.

  34. Marc Watkins says:

    Very sad to hear about Ian’s passing. My thoughts go to his family and friends. What a touching and heartfelt tribute, Michael!

  35. Fran Russo says:

    what a beautiful tribute Michael … Ian was a remarkable person and I am saddened to hear of his passing…. my prayers go out to his family …

  36. David Ravvin says:

    I grew up with Ian in Calgary. We were together from Grade 2 to 12: Peretz School, Milton Williams and then Henry Wise Wood. Such a warm, funny, intelligent, playful person. He had a way of finding that warm spot in your heart and then staying there with it while you had fun together. You can’t beat that! I wish Erin and Ruby the best. I am really sad right now but I’ll catch one over-the-shoulder from you tonight, Ian.
    Love Dave

  37. Remarkable, beloved individual who will be missed by many.

  38. Lori Smehoff says:

    Thank you Michael for your wonderful tribute to Ian. I grew up with the Kerr family as my parents were close friends with Ian’s parents- and his Mom, Eta called us “frelatives” – friends who are like family. Ian was quite simply- an exceptional person on ALL levels. He was brilliant, original, witty, humble, musical, curious, loving, devoted to his family and friends, and could always make you laugh.

  39. Miriam Cherry says:

    So sorry to hear this news. My condolences on this loss.

  40. Stan Matwin says:

    Thanks, Michael, for the beautiful, personal tribute. What a sad, totally unexpected news. Ian gratiously agreed to guest-lecture in my course, and the students loved him. His da Vincian breadth of knowledge was incredible. A nice, warm, friendly person. We will all miss him terribly.

  41. Steven Morgan says:

    What a wonderful tribute Michael. Ian will be deeply missed.

  42. Paul Swanson says:

    I grew up with Ian as well. I have one story to share… not about Tom’s House of Pizza. I was living in mid-town New York when 9/11 occurred. I remember Ian was in town shortly after to give a speech at the UN. He contacted me to go for dinner. It was getting dark and we were strolling through Union square. The tribute in light was visible – “two vertical columns of light to represent the Twin Towers in remembrance of the September 11 attacks.” Ian mentioned it would be great to put the Batman symbol at the top of the lights. We both broke out in laughter. All of my pent up emotions were released while sharing his infectious laughter. In truth, this creative observation from Ian provided me with so much comfort and support during a very trying time. Ian had unique insight and a brilliant sense of humor. He was a wonderful friend to many and a truly remarkable man, who will be deeply missed.

  43. Patricia Stirbys says:

    Thank you, Michael, for sharing this beautiful tribute to Ian. You captured his warm and generous soul, and creative intellect. I can still see his radiating smile. I am so sad he is gone. My condolences to you for losing such a wonderful friend.

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  45. Jeff Eichler says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautifully written tribute describing a life well led and the immense loss that is being felt by so many. We extend our deepest condolences to Erin & Ruby, Eta, Sheryl, Brian, Spencer and Jamie, and to Ian’s friends and colleagues. Our attempts to try and make sense of this loss are futile and our hearts, like yours, are broken.

    Our connection with Ian and his family reach deep. Our Mother was Ian’s kindergarten Lererin (teacher)…our Father was his elementary school Lerer (teacher) and Principal, while his parents were part of our family, friends and community devotees. Not to mention how close we grew up with Ian’s two beloved and cherished sisters Sheryl and Karen.

    Ian was one of the many talented graduates of the Yud Lamed Peretz Shul (school), who was deeply respected and admired not only for his many achievements, but more importantly for always being a thoughtful and kind-hearted Mentsch (look that word up in Yiddish if you don’t know the meaning, but it exudes everything about Ian!)

    His wisdom and accomplishments influenced many, and all he brought to this world will continue to inspire us throughout our lifetimes.

    It is true that while we have no control over the length of our lives, we do have control over its width and depth. Ian left us way too soon, but look how wide and deep he lived! And these remarkable tributes to him on line from the many who touched his life is a testament to that.

    Rest in peace dear friend – your memory will be for a blessing.

    Jeff and Ritchie Eichler – Calgary

  46. Stephanie Perrin says:

    A lovely tribute Michael, for a lovely man. Devastating news for us, losing a leader so young, and with so much brilliant work ahead of him.

  47. Very well captured, Micheal. Ian was outstanding in character as he was in intellect. His death inflicts a wound in all of us that time will struggle to heal. Ian’s was a short but monumentally impactful life. That is a consolation, if there is any in the circumstance.

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  49. A very touching tribute Michael. Thank you for sharing it.

  50. Tanis Ferman says:

    This is a beautiful tribute. I knew Ian when we were kids, and he always had a big smile, a kind heart and tremendous enthusiasm. He accomplished so much and has left this world too early. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

  51. Haley Arnott says:

    I am so sad and shocked to hear of Ian’s passing. He was such a good hearted soul. He always made everyone laugh. I enjoyed going to school with him at I L Peretz and then reuniting at Henry wise wood. Always welcoming you with a huge hug.
    He will be greatly missed. My heart goes out to all his family and friends.

    • Jacqui Sankoff says:

      I am shocked and saddened to hear of Ian’s passing. I had the pleasure of meeting Ian when I moved to Calgary. We went to high school at Henry Wisewood and he was always larger than life and loved by all. Ian had a smile for everyone and the most generous spirit. I feel blessed to have counted him as a friend. I hope his memory will serve as a comfort to his family and friends.

  52. Sonia katyal says:

    Beautiful,Michael. Just absolutely beautiful.

  53. Gus Hosein says:

    I’m so sorry I didn’t get the chance to know Ian better — though from what little time we had together, this tribute only confirms my impressions. The closing lines of this tribute are absolutely beautiful.

  54. Aline Germain-Rutherford says:

    This is so sad. Thank you for this beautiful tribute, Michael. Ian will be deeply missed.

    • Sukesh Kamra says:

      Beautiful tribute, Michael. Ian was a professor like no other. His style was influential and his methods innovative. My deepest condolences to his family and the community.

  55. Julie Cafley says:

    What a terrible loss and a beautiful tribute. I am so saddened by this news. He was light, Michael, you are so right.

  56. Jek-Hui Sim says:

    I am so saddened by this news. Michael, thank you so much for what you have written. I so regret having lost touch with such a devoted, kind and generous mentor. I can honestly say, I would not be the person I am today if it had not been for his guidance. He played such a powerful role in the lives of so many of us blessed to have known him. My deepest condolences.

  57. Like everyone else, I was shocked and saddened to hear about Prof. Kerr’s passing.

    I took his Law of Robotics course as a 2L at uOttawa. The course was mostly about the human philosophies that underlie basic legal principles we take for granted, and asked whether they were/should still be applicable to the machine realm. It was a course that wove his PhD, lawyer training, and very easy-going style into an enjoyable seminar course. It was memorable for me as a mature student of the same age as Prof. Kerr, and also a drummer, since we would sometimes references obscure 80’s Rush lyrics in class discussions that nobody else understood.

    I also teach now and use his legal management text in my own class – its a great resource for teaching intro law. He brought a unique style and expertise to the law school experience . I’m glad he left a substantial body of progressive work for the community to learn from and build upon, and I think its a real loss to UO that future students won’t know what they missed.

  58. Boyd Aitken says:

    I knew Ian at the University of Western Ontario. I am so sorry that we have lost him so soon. Thank you to you Michael for the beautiful tribute.

  59. Oh Michael. My heart breaks and you have captured all the reasons why so beautifully.

  60. David Paciocco says:

    Thank you Michael, for this moving and fitting tribute to our colleague Ian. What a rich legacy . Ian was an uncommonly gifted teacher, the best of the best. He advanced the law and will continue to do so, as those he inspired and taught so well take over where he left off. He not only shared his considerable knowledge with so many, including the judges he generously taught at judicial education sessions, he showed all of us that it is possible to be humble and compassionate and kind yet still a legal superstar. We are all richer for having known him. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and his many other close friends and to his family.

  61. Susan Wheeler says:

    I met Ian through NJI many years ago and am very saddened to hear of his passing. What a lovely tribute, Michael. Thank you so much for capturing Ian’s spirit and his commitment to others/society. I will miss him. Susan

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  63. Jamie Hildebrand says:

    I was in the philosophy department at Western and was Ian’s TA for a philosophy of law course when he was working on his combined law and philosophy PHD. He had me teach the introductory lecture on constitutional law. He told me I did a great job – I doubt very much the accuracy of that statement but understood it to be an encouragement. As described, Ian was obviously a brilliant and creative person, but he was very generous with his time and energy. I sent him an email a few months ago thanking him for his help and support that I believe has been instrumental on my getting to teach part-time at Western for these past years, and he humbly deferred saying that I got where I was entirely on my own merit. I know the difference, he encouraged me and introduced me to a world of academia and affirmed the value of thinking – I couldn’t have had my rich life without that experience. I was shocked to hear of Ian’s passing, I haven’t seen him for years, I think I’ll just remember our lively conversations and his infectious laughter and enthusiasm.

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