ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Best People Leave

Alex GeisingerWhen I got my first teaching job at Valparaiso University Law School, there was a core of people who were on the hiring committee and also became my close friends almost immediately upon my arrival.  Because they were at Valparaiso, I knew that it would be a good fit for me, They were dedicated teachers, innovative scholars, and colleagues devoted to helping our students learn and thrive as professionals and people.  They were committed to the place in the same ways as I was.  There were also great people at the university, so I had an interdisciplinary community of colleagues.

One of my law school colleagues was Alex Geisinger, who became a mentor and a friend.  He was on the committee that hired me.  He took the lead in helping me to understand the dynamics of the small community I had joined.  One of Alex's valuable assets was his honesty, and so he warned me about Valparaiso University (Valpo): "The best people leave."  

Of my close friends at Valpo, Alex was the first to leave.  He left to help Drexel gets its law school off the ground.  I had to be happy for Alex.  It was a great move for him and his family, but it was a bitter blow.  Not only had Alex been a great mentor for me in my teaching and scholarship, he was someone I could have a coffee with regularly, and his son, Michael, exactly one year older that my daughter, Sophie, was among Sophie's most regular playmates.  Alex always called Michael, "The Boy," and I still call Sophie, "The Child."  The Boy and The Child would play, while Alex and I would talk about teaching, and behavioral economics, and law school politics, and university politics, and politics politics, and life/work balance, and living in the Midwest when you don't really feel like you belong in the Midwest.  

I wrote previously about my commitment to community and how I felt that I belonged to a community when I started teaching at Valpo.  Alex was at the heart of that community, and he continued the connection after leaving.  When I got a one-semester sabbatical, Alex got me a visiting position at Drexel so that I could have full year away from Valpo, which was not always a happy place for me.  I had a wonderful experience teaching at Drexel and spending three days a week in the heart of Philadelphia.  Alex came back to Valpo to visit, we met up at conferences at every opportunity, and he kept in touch with our colleagues even after we all dispersed, making sure that we were all up to date on each other's lives.

I learned last night that Alex died this week while traveling with his family in Malaysia.  We lost colleagues at Valpo before, but among my small circle of close friends, Alex was once again the first to leave.  It is the bitterest of blows.

Law Schools, Teaching | Permalink


He was among the best colleagues I ever had. A perfect faculty member and friend. I was looking at soccer scores today and broke into tears.

Posted by: Roger Dennis | Feb 28, 2024 2:39:21 PM

Echoing Dean Dennis. Tort law was the least of what he taught me. He humored me when I tried to chat with him in broken Italian. I can't imagine a greater loss to a community. I hadn't cried in years, until yesterday. Ci Vediamo.

Posted by: Brandon Robilotti | Feb 29, 2024 12:39:44 PM

An extraordinary man and a profound inspiration to us all. He accomplished so much in life. His name and memory will live on. Having known him personally I can say that he had a deep empathy and boundless curiosity. I’ve met very few people who could truly understand me. Alex Geisinger understood before I even finished the sentence. I can only hope to be remembered as fondly. Impossible to overstate how proud he was of his son, a brilliant young man who has accomplished more in his youth than most in 40 years. Alex Geisinger left the world in far better shape than he found it which is something that should inspire all of us.

Posted by: HJ | Mar 25, 2024 10:22:29 PM

A wonderful colleague. He and I would talk Torts endlessly, revisiting old Tort concepts and puzzling about them. He was always willing to listen quietly when I struggled with political issue or a personal one, and offer support, solutions, or just a smart response.

Posted by: Barry R Furrow | Apr 1, 2024 9:10:07 AM