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Byron White #24 in Colorado football jersey


CU-Boulder Chancellor, President, Law School Dean Laud Scholar-Athlete Byron White

Officials at the University of Colorado at Boulder expressed sadness at the death of Byron R. White, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice,
Byron White, Supreme Court Justice
CU-Boulder valedictorian and the school's first All-American football player.

"It was a privilege and pleasure for me to have known Justice Byron White," said CU-Boulder Chancellor Richard Byyny. "His tenure on the Supreme Court was distinguished, characterized by independent thinking and enormous integrity.

"Of all our alumni in the first half of the last century, he stands out and is a source of great pride. He exemplified the high achieving student who is also an outstanding varsity athlete. We are sorry to lose him and will always revere his memory," Byyny said.

"This is a very sad loss for the nation and for the state of Colorado," said CU President Elizabeth Hoffman. "Justice White was one of CU's most distinguished alumni, and his memory will always live on at the University of Colorado. His careers as a CU football player, a Supreme Court Justice and a passionate advocate for First Amendment rights exemplify the best of CU's long-standing culture of excellence."

White was the first Coloradoan appointed to be a Justice of the US Supreme Court in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. He served for 31 years, before retiring in 1993.

"Justice White was excellent in everything he did, from the day he arrived at the University of Colorado as a freshman, to his death today," said Law Dean Harold Bruff. "He was a fine lawyer, a fine Justice and a fine man."

Byron White, CU runningback
In 1937 White was selected a member of the All-American Football Team, after leading CU to its first-ever bowl appearance. In 1938 he played professional football with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and in 1940 and 1941 with the Detroit Lions. In 1954 he was named to the National Football Hall of Fame.

"I had the wonderful opportunity to personally present and induct Justice White as the first member of the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame," said CU Athletic Director Dick Tharp.

"He represented the epitome of the reason we have athletic programs at a major university; that is to allow a talented young person to learn how to achieve the highest levels of success, whether in athletics or serving our country and society in a capacity such as the Supreme Court. We will miss his presence, but at the University of Colorado we will always have a sense of his presence in our programs," Tharp said.

White graduated from CU-Boulder in 1938 with a bachelor's degree in economics. He was Rhodes scholar at Oxford University and attended Yale Law School.

In 1994 the Byron White United States Courthouse was dedicated in Denver. In 1990 the Byron White Center for the Study of Constitutional Law was established at CU-Boulder with a gift from his longtime friend Ira C. Rothgerber.

White was married to Marion Stearns White, daughter of former CU president Robert Stearns.

More on Byron White

Remarks of the Chief Justice from the Bench on Justice Byron R. White
Supreme Court of the United States

The Greatest Buff Ever Passes Away
CU Athletics Department

White’s Friends Remember the Man Behind the Image
Boulder Daily Camera

Career Highlights
Boulder Daily Camera

Retired Justice Made State Proud
Denver Post

Byron White: A Supreme Life
Rocky Mountain News

The Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law
University of Colorado School of Law

 

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