With heavy hearts, we share the news of the sudden passing of our great friend and colleague, Professor Burns Weston. A memorial service has been scheduled for December 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the College of Law to celebrate his life and many contributions to our law school and the larger community.
Professor Weston was the Bessie Dutton Murray Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and founder and senior scholar of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. He received his BA from Oberlin College and an LLB and JSD from Yale Law School. Professor Weston joined our faculty in 1966 and retired from full-time teaching in May 1999. During his long tenure as a member of our full-time faculty, among many other activities, Professor Weston served as the associate dean for international and comparative law programs and as faculty advisor to the student-edited journal, Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems. Professor Weston’s idea of retirement included an active schedule of teaching, writing, and speaking. During his distinguished tenure at the College of Law, Professor Weston “put Iowa Law on the map” in international law and international human rights. He is responsible for recruiting some of our most distinguished faculty members in the fields of international and comparative law and has inspired generations of law students. Professor Weston’s wide-ranging teaching and research interests focused on international jurisprudence, international human rights law, the laws of war, the law of state responsibility, international environmental law, and US foreign relations law. He was a prolific scholar and author of countless articles and books, focusing his most recent work on human rights and the environment. Professor Weston served as a member of the editorial boards of over 10 professional journals, including the American Journal of International Law, as series editor of the longest continuing international law book series in the US, and as a member of a number of boards of directors of organizations focused on international law and human rights, including the American Society of International Law. He has been honored many times by a wide-range of organizations, including most recently with the Courage of Conviction Award from the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, an honorary Doctor of Laws from Vermont Law School, and the CIVIC (Council of International Visitors to Iowa City) International Citizen Award for Promotion of International Understanding.
Burns is survived by his wife Marta, his children: Timothy B. Weston and Rebecca B. Weston, his step children: Malin, Martin, and Johannes, his grandchildren: Leah Julia Yonemoto-Weston, Elijah Romeo Weston-Capulong, Emma Rose Yonemoto-Weston; and Isabella (“Isa”) Burns Weston-Capulong, and his five step-grandchildren: John Birger Wedinger, Olivia Lampenius Cullberg, Sima Wiernik Cullberg, Joar Wiernik Cullberg, and Cecilia Lampenius Cullberg.
Burns was a true citizen of the world. We will miss his intellect, his wit, and his passion, all showcased in his periodic emails addressed to his “dear friends near and far.” May Burns rest in peace after a life exceptionally well lived. He will be remembered with admiration and affection.