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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

In Memoriam: Richard Earl Day

Richard Earl Day, former dean of the University of South Carolina Joseph F. Rice School of Law, passed away January 11, 2024.  

Day earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School 1951 and his law degree in 1957 from the University of Michigan. In the intervening years between his undergraduate and law degrees, Day served as a lieutenant in the Navy.  

By the time he joined the law school in 1974, Day was already an established legal expert in intellectual property. In addition to teaching at numerous law schools, he also had practical experience and was, at the time, admitted to the Bar in Illinois and the District of Columbia.  

Day started at the law school as a visiting professor and was quickly promoted to professor with tenure. By 1977, Day was named dean of the USC Rice School of Law, which afforded him the opportunity to hood his son, William E. Day II ‘79, during the commencement ceremony.  

Day was also a prolific scholar. He edited and wrote numerous books and articles on anti-trust law and trade secret law, including several publications in the South Carolina Law Review. Day was also active with the SC Bar in intellectual property and helped establish a new section in that field. 

In 1980, Day stepped down as dean, and started working as a consultant. He later returned to the classroom and was named John William Thurmond Sr. Professor of Law Chair. Upon his retirement in 1999, Day earned the title Distinguished Professor Emeritus. As a former dean, his portrait hangs in the Dean’s Suite at the USC Rice School of Law. 

Day remained an avid supporter of the USC Rice School of Law and its students throughout his life and, in 2013, created the Richard E. Day Endowed Scholarship Fund in support of law students. He also generously donated the Steinway piano in the Perrin Room, which law students often use in between classes. 

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