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Ronald J. Fiscus

Ronald J. Fiscus

Ronald J. Fiscus, a government faculty member, died May 18, 1990, following a long illness. He was 42.

A native of Marshalltown, Iowa, he earned a bachelor’s in government and international relations from Carleton College. From 1968 to 1970, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa’s Republic of Chad where, as part of a two-man team, he developed and installed wells to provide sanitary drinking water for rural villages. He then earned master’s and doctoral degrees in public law and political philosophy at the University of Wisconsin.

Ron joined the Skidmore faculty in 1980, quickly becoming known throughout the campus community as a gifted teacher and incisive scholar, teaching “Constitutional Law” and “Contemporary Constitutional Problems,” among other courses. His provocative study of the Supreme Court, entitled “The Brethren,” was published in the American Bar Foundation Research Journal in 1984. In the summer of 1985, he participated in a National Endowment for the humanities seminar on constitutional jurisprudence, and he was appointed a Fellow in Law and Government at Harvard Law School for the 1987-88 academic year. At the time of his death, he was working on two book manuscripts: a study of the Fourteenth Amendment and a critique of the decision-making process of the Supreme Court.

His students’ regard and respect for Ron was manifested when the class of 1989 chose him to be the faculty speaker at their commencement. The very next year, when Dean of the Faculty Eric Weller announced Ron’s death to the college community, he said, “We, his colleagues, his many friends, and a generation of his students, are deeply moved by the untimely death of such a profound and generous spirit.”

His parents and a brother predeceased him. Survivors included his sisters Mary Vajgrt and Connie Bumstead and his close friend Chris Glenn. 

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