Funeral service for Dean Emeritus John D. Scarlett set for Monday, July 17

Photo of portrait of Dean John D. Scarlett

Dean John D. Scarlett

Dean Emeritus and retired Professor of Law John “Don” Scarlett, 93, died on July 10, 2017, after an extended illness. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 17, at First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem. The family will receive friends following the service in the fellowship hall.

Dean Scarlett joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1955, one year prior to the college’s historic move to Winston-Salem. A teacher of Torts, Constitutional Law, and International Law, Dean Scarlett was one of nine faculty members at the law school under the leadership of Dean Carroll Weathers (BA ‘22, JD ‘23).

In Washington, D.C., in 1960, Dean Scarlett received a congressional fellowship, the American Political Science Fellowship. He served as counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee for the next two summers. He left Wake Forest in 1962 to pursue a deanship at the University of South Dakota Law School, and in 1969, at Drake Law School in Des Moines, Iowa.

He returned to Wake Forest School of Law as dean in 1979. Under his leadership, the law school implemented the 440 Plan to reduce the student/faculty ratio. He also strengthened the school’s program of legal writing. As chairman of the National Financial Aid Committee of the Law School Admissions Council, he assisted in the development of the National Access Loan. He also served as vice president of the North Carolina Bar Association Tort Reform Committee in 1987 and 1988. He retired as dean in 1989.

“All the things we’ve been doing in the past 10 years have combined to change the public perception of Wake Forest Law School from essentially a local practitioner oriented school to [an] innovative, still professionally oriented law school with growing national recognition,” Dean Scarlett was quoted as saying in the Spring/Summer 1989 issue of the Jurist, the law school’s alumni magazine. “And while we’ve been doing this we’ve been trying to maintain the best thing we have going for us — the Wake Forest mystique. One of my personal goals is that as we develop into a national law school we still retain some of the ‘good stuff’ about Wake Forest.”

Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) noted, “Several of us joined the faculty during the tenure of Dean Scarlett. Individually, we felt his support in our professional development. Collectively, we felt his devotion to preserving the best of Wake Forest traditions while pushing us to embrace our national role in the academy.”

Learn more about Dean Scarlett in the Winston-Salem Journal.