Requiescat in pace, Professor Brooke Overby.

Tulane Law School Professor Brooke Overby passed away unexpectedly Wednesday night, August 5, 2009. It is a tragic loss.

Professor Overby was a nationally-recognized expert on commercial law, with a particular expertise in banking, and she was a leading voice on the recent mortgage meltdown. She was an outstanding scholar, she was a much loved and respected teacher, and she was a sage on issues of faculty governance. She was the consummate academic, and her love for her job was reflected in the quality of her work.

In addition, she was just a fabulous person. Indeed, while Brooke had a stellar professional resume, she also had an awesome personal resume. For example, Brooke was fearless traveler who regularly crossed the globe. She often sent me e-mails from locations I could not immediately place on the map. Average travelers go to Paris; Brooke went to Tunisia. Average travelers stay in hotels; Brooke camped in the middle of the wilds. And Brooke was not afraid to squeeze fun into narrow windows. She had no qualms about taking a five day trip of which three days were spent flying to her destination and back. Brooke embraced the “carpe diem” theory of world travel.

Brooke and I became good friends in part due to our bonding while serving together as Tulane Law School representatives to the University Faculty Senate. I never thought I would say “I am grateful for the time I had on University Faculty Senate,” but now I am saying exactly that.

Brooke was young, both in age and spirit, and I am stunned that she is gone. Her passing is a loss for the Law School, for the University, for the academic community, for her family, and for those of us who were lucky enough to consider her a friend. A colleague accurately characterized those of us who knew Brooke well as “bereft.” Bereft.

If you knew Brooke, personally or professionally, and you would like to post in the comments or via e-mail to me your reflections about her, I will pass them on to her family.

Requiescat in pace, Brooke.

You may also like...

9 Responses

  1. Jonathan Carlson says:

    Brooke was one of the brightest students I’ve ever had the opportunity to teach, and one of the most fun — no intellectual wallflower! Her creative and insightful mind made every conversation with her, in class or out, a challenge and delight. I was thrilled that she pursued an academic career, for which she was so well suited, and I have followed her progress with a former teacher’s pride. Our profession has lost a unique soul, who enriched my life, as I’m sure she enriched the lives of many others who knew her. My deep condolences to her friends and family, and to the Tulane community.

    Jonathan Carlson

  2. Lon Moeller says:

    As one of Brooke’s classmates at the University of Iowa College of Law, I echo Professor Carlson’s comments about Brooke’s intellectual abilities and recall fondly the classroom exchanges between Brooke and many of our first-year professors. She was a remarkable member of the class of 1987 and will be missed. My condolences to her friends and family.

  3. Alan Childress says:

    Thank you, Elizabeth, for putting into such beautiful words what so many of us feel. RIP indeed.

  4. Haller Jackson says:

    Brooke was my Article 2 professor, and she was an amazing teacher—smart, lucid, exquisitely prepared, patient, thoughtful, fair and funny. I didn’t have the chance to take another class from her, but we became friends after I graduated. That’s when I learned she was an amazing person as well. She lived life in a way that many people think they should, but few people have the will and courage to do: Brooke always blazed ahead. As her student, that’s the lesson I’ll remember. As her friend, that’s the life I’ll miss. My sincerest condolences to her family.

  5. Jean Braucher says:

    I agree that she was both an impressive scholar and impressive person. I miss her. Brooke traveled the remote corners of the UCC the way she took on remote Peru. Her passion for travel was just part of her passion for knowledge and experience, something she also pursued at home. I will never forget the tour she gave me of ravaged New Orleans six months after Katrina and her penetrating analysis of the human failures that made the devastation worse. She had absorbed the enormous tragedy of it all and was doing her bit as a volunteer, trying to help others in their struggles to cope with her own struggle to understand what had happened and why.

  6. Jancy Hoeffel says:

    I will continue to miss Brooke terribly. She encouraged me, supported me and mentored me on being a productive member of the faculty and on being a good person. Brooke was an excellent human being in every way — wise, scary smart, generous — but, even better, she was superbly, brilliantly funny. She made me laugh uproariously in the face of tragedy. I wish I could go into her office and weep and laugh and ridicule the stupid hand of fate. Brooke was brilliant at living her life and I will often ask myself in the coming years, “What would Brooke do?”

  7. Wendy Scott says:

    I was saddened to hear of Brooke’s passing. Tulane has lost a great teacher/scholar whose work helped all of us, even those who teach outside the field of commercial law. My prayers are with her family and many friends during this difficult time.

  8. John Schmillen says:

    I just received word of Brooke’s passing and am writing to express my heartfelt sympathies to her family and friends. I had the great good fortune to participate in a study group with Brooke during our first year of law school at the University of Iowa. If there were limits to her understanding, she did not disclose them to me. I remember with fondness her great sense of humor and her kindness to others. God bless her memory – the world is a smaller place in her absence. The people who knew and loved her know exactly what I mean.

  9. very informative and interesting blog.
    Thanks for sharing:-)