Longtime BU Law School Dean Found Dead After One-Car Crash

Angus McSwain (File)
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WACO (May 30, 2011)-Police have identified the man who died in an early morning traffic accident as the former dean of the Baylor Law School.

Angus McSwain, Jr, 87, was driving near the intersection of New Road and Sanger when he lost control of his car and crashed into a house.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said officers were sent at about 7:50 a.m. to the 4500 block of Sanger where they found a vehicle had left the roadway, crashed through a fence and the hit the southwest corner of a home.

Officers discovered McSwain inside the car, but he was unresponsive.

Paramedics dispatched to the scene determined the McSwain was dead and they said they believe he suffered some type of medical episode before the crash.

McLennan County Justice of the Peace Kristi DeCluitt pronounced the McSwain dead at the scene, but did not order an autopsy.

McSwain served as dean of the Baylor University School of Law for 19 years from the mid 1965 until 1984.

Funeral services were pending Monday at Wilkirson-Hatch Bailey Funeral Home in Waco.

"In the loss of Dean McSwain, the Baylor Law community and our university have lost an iconic figure and a beloved friend," said Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben.

"Dean McSwain was a paradigm of the teacher-scholar. His leadership on the law faculty across the decades and his 19 years as dean of the Law School set the standards and established a culture that have allowed our Law School to thrive, and through our alumni, to have a profound impact upon our profession, our state and beyond," Toben said.

"He was in all he did an understated gentleman, who always sought to do his best, to serve others and to live a quiet life of faith."

McSwain, who was born on Nov. 26, 1923 in Bryan, served with the Army Corps of Engineers for three years during World War II, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University in 1947 and in 1949 graduated cum laude from the Baylor Law School where he was a member of the first editorial board of the Baylor Law Review.

He joined the law school faculty in 1949 and served as a professor until 1965 when he was named dean.

During his tenure as dean, he emphasized classroom teaching and under his direction the school grew to about 350 students, the law library increased its holdings to about 75,000 volumes and a number of new faculty members were hired.

McSwain resigned as dean in 1984 to return full time to his "first love," classroom teaching.

His 19-year-tenure was the longest of any dean in the law school’s history.

Although he officially retired in 1994, he continued to teach until 2008.