March 19, 2009

Event will honor Lesars, raise scholarship funds

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The SIU School of Law is preparing for a birthday celebration that honors the vision of the law school’s founding dean, while also raising scholarship funds for students.

A party celebrating Barbara Lesar’s 90th birthday is set for 1:30 p.m., Sunday, March 29, in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building.

The cost to attend the party is $90 per person, with proceeds going to the Hiram H. Lesar Professorship Fund. Mrs. Lesar turns 90 years old on March 30.

“We’re pleased to celebrate Mrs. Lesar’s milestone birthday with her. We are even more excited that she is allowing us to use this opportunity to highlight Dr. Lesar’s life and legacy,” Dean Peter C. Alexander said.

Barbara Lesar’s late husband, Hiram, organized and developed the law school with its charter class in August 1973. Prior to that, the only law schools in the state were at the University of Illinois and in Chicago.

The ongoing goal is to raise $250,000 for the Lesar Professorship Fund. The incumbent law school dean will be designated “Dean and Hiram H. Lesar Professor of Law.” The fellowship fund began in 2006.

The endowment also generates a scholarship for a law school student in good academic standing who demonstrates high achievement or the potential for high academic achievement.

Because of meal considerations, the pre-registration deadline is March 26. To register by e-mail go to and click on the RSVP link to “Celebrating Barbara Lesar’s 90th Birthday.” Registration is also available by e-mail to development officer Judi Ray at or calling 618/453-8135.

Ray said it is Mrs. Lesar’s wish to raise funds for the fellowship in lieu of birthday gifts.

The University will honor Barbara Lesar with a Distinguished Service Award during the law school’s commencement ceremony on May 7 in Shryock Auditorium. In February, Alexander noted Barbara Lesar considers it her responsibility to make sure her late husband’s vision is supported in every way possible, actively serving on the law school’s Board of Visitors, and attending every law school event.

Barbara Lesar is also co-chair of the committee working to endow the professorship in Dean Lesar’s honor.