UT law professor John Robertson dies

Tristan Davantes

John Robertson, 74, a long-time UT law professor and bioethicist, passed away Wednesday, according to a press release from Texas Law.

Receiving an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, Robertson attended Harvard Law School, where he earned his juris doctor.

“John was just about the best mentor to young scholars I have ever encountered,” said Glenn Cohen, Harvard law professor, in a memorial to Robertson. “I met him first while I was a fellow at an (American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics) event and I was blown away by the warmth and generosity of someone I considered a giant in the field.”

Robertson was a faculty member at the University since 1980, with a specialization in bioethics, where he examined ethical issues in health care and health policy. He received a lifetime achievement award in 2010 from the ASLME, according to his obituary on the Texas Law website.

John Dzienkowski, professor at the UT School of Law, said Robertson’s work helped make bioethics a more prominent field.

“That’s what he was really known for,” Dzienkowski said. “Being an early scholar in the field of bioethics.”

Apart from his academic achievements, Dzienkowski said that Robertson was a very passionate art collector.

“He was a great lover of paintings and the arts,” Dzienkowski said. “He had a great art collection, and he actually spent a lot of time talking about that and promoting local artists.”

Robertson was involved in choosing the many paintings that decorate the fifth and sixth floors of the law school, according to an obituary on the Texas Law website.

“Some borrowed from the Blanton Museum, others from galleries and artists in Austin and beyond, and some even taken from his personal collection,” said in an obituary on the Texas Law website.

Dzienkowski said Robertson had very good relationships with students and faculty members.

“I can’t believe he is gone,” Cohen said in Robertson’s memorial. “The world seems a little darker.”