Sunday, May 19, 2019
Today, I thought of Haskell Murray’s recent post, Reflections on the Life of a Smiling, Selfless Educator: Rivers Lynch, in thinking about paying tribute to my former colleague, mentor, and friend, University of Notre Dame Law School Professor John Nagle, who passed away yesterday. Like so many, I am stunned and devastated by John’s death. He too was a smiling, selfless educator who positively impacted the lives of so many.
John was a tremendous scholar in the areas of environmental law, property, legislation & regulation, and biodiversity and the law. Yet because of his characteristic selflessness, I could always as his junior colleague count on him to critically read and comment on my work on topics such as the Federal Reserve and clearinghouses! His feedback, in addition to his lasting support and encouragement, has been a priceless gift in my life. I will be forever grateful.
Others have written about how John creatively integrated his life and research. For example, he managed to “convert his love of the outdoors and our national parks into a research agenda.” In catching up with John, I always loved hearing about his most recent national park adventure. And others have written about his devotion to his family and faith. I too received an email from John one year saying we wouldn't get to catch up at AALS because he didn’t want to miss any of his daughter’s basketball games!
John knew what he valued and what his priorities were in life. And he lived accordingly. He had a clear definition of success and lived consistent with that vision. Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M Christensen asks “How Will You Measure Your Life?” John had a ready answer for this question.
Perhaps one of the best ways I can honor John and his memory is to reflect upon my values and priorities, and to ask myself whether I’m using my time, talent, and treasure in such a way that these values and priorities are actually being put into practice, and to encourage others to engage in similar reflection.
(published 5/19/19, revised 5/20/19)