On May 17, Richard M. Buxbaum ’53 (LL.M.) was awarded an honorary doctor of law (dr. iur. h.c.) degree by the University of Cologne, which has had a unique relationship with Boalt Hall since 1956. At that time, then-Deans William Prosser and Gerhard Kegel agreed to apply Ford Foundation support of international legal studies to student and faculty exchanges between the two schools. As pointed out by Cologne’s Dean Michael Sachs at the event, which was attended by over 100 academic and professional colleagues who have benefited from this relationship, Buxbaum is the sixth Berkeley colleague to be awarded an honorary degree from the university. He joins Deans William Prosser and Sanford Kadish and Professors Albert Ehrenzweig, Stefan Riesenfeld ’37 and Mel Eisenberg (who received this honor in 2004) in this lineage, which represents a plurality of all honorary degrees Cologne has awarded in that half-century. The event was timed to mark the 50th anniversary of this relationship.
Among those attending the ceremony was Dr. Dieter Eckert, the first Cologne exchange student to receive the LL.M. degree from Boalt, in 1957, as well as several Berkeley LL.M.s who went on to become law faculty members in Germany and elsewhere. One, Professor Wolfgang Hofmann-Riem, now a justice of the German Constitutional Court, delivered a lecture at the event using Buxbaum’s participation as defense counsel in the 1965 criminal case against members of the Free Speech Movement as a springboard for a comparative discussion of U.S. and German law concerning the right to demonstrate.
It also was something of a family affair, since Buxbaum’s daughter, Professor Hannah Buxbaum of Indiana University School of Law has been spending the year at Cologne while on a German Humboldt Fellowship and attended the event with her family. With the Cologne honor joining earlier ones of 1992 from Eötvös Lorand University (Budapest) and Osnabrück University along with an appointment as Honorary Professor at Peking University in 1998, Buxbaum now is a Dr. h.c. mult. in the German parlance — “it’s more enjoyable than having to earn your own,” he said.