A Tribute to Ralph J. Rohner


Photo Courtesy of the Columbus School of Law

By Jessica Fetrow

Professor Emeritus and former Dean of Columbus School of Law Ralph J. Rohner passed away on June 11, 2020. Rohner was a proud two-time alumnus of Catholic University, receiving his B.A. in philosophy from the university in 1960 and his J.D. from the Columbus School of Law in 1963. 

Rohner was born in East Orange, New Jersey, and raised in Parkville, Maryland. Rohner and his wife, Monica, have four children, Stephen, Felicia, Karl and Theresa, and ten grandchildren. 

During his time as an undergraduate student, Rohner was extremely active in the Catholic University community, playing for the university’s baseball team, writing for The Tower, and serving on Student Council committees and as president of Phi Kappa Theta. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he studied at the university’s Columbus School of Law, where he served as editor in chief of Volume 12 of the Catholic University Law Review, was a member of the 1963 Sutherland Cup champion team, and ranked first in the day-division of his graduating class. 

After graduating from law school, Rohner began teaching commercial and consumer law courses at the Columbus School of Law in 1964, before becoming an ordinary professor in 1972. Rohner served as the dean of the Columbus School of Law from January 1987 to August 1995. During his time as dean, he oversaw the design and construction of the current law school building, which went on to receive several awards. A plaque honoring Rohner’s personal achievements and dedication to the Columbus School of Law is located in the building.

Beyond his work at Catholic University, Rohner served as staff counsel to the Consumer Affair Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and as a consultant to the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and various consumer banking trade associations and institutions. Rohner also served as a member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council from 1979 to 1981, serving as chair of the council in 1981. 

He was also a member of the American Bar Association Business Law Section and its committees on the Uniform Commercial Code and Consumer Financial Services, as well as a founding member and former president of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers. Rohner co-authored and contributed to several publications, particularly on federal and state consumer and credit laws. 

“It is hard to capture in words what Ralph has meant to The Catholic University of America School of Law,” said the Columbus School of Law in a statement on their website. “But he made it obvious to all by the way he lived what the Law School meant to him and his family.”

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