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Memorial created 04-29-2006 by
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Maureen Bridget Cavanaugh
January 7 1955 - April 4 2005

Guest Book from Penn State University/ The Dickinson School of Law



Kieran A. Lasater — kal181@psu.edu Carlisle, Pennsylvania

I had the honor of studying with Professor Cananaugh during her first semester at Dickinson, in her Tax Policy seminar. Her patience, keen intellect and sense of humor, made her a wonderful teacher. Her devotion to teaching was palpable and was appreciated by all of her students. She was truly an asset and will be dearly missed.

Sincerely, Kieran A. Lasater Dickinson Class of 2005


Jenny Urquhart Palmdale, California

Prof. Cavanaugh was a brillant and talented educator. She had a way of teaching with an eye toward benefiting each individual student and always maintaining a sense of humor. She will be deeply missed.


Christina Bowden Lexington, Virginia

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Mr. Plum, at this very sad time. Professor Cavanaugh will be greatly missed. I enjoyed both semesters that I had her as a teacher. She always welcomed you into her office with a smile on her face and a helpful explanation and endless patience for whatever problem you had. I am very sorry for your loss.


Mark Jennings — mzj107@psu.edu Carlisle, Pennsylvania

With sadness in loss, and gratitude for your contribution, and admiration for your courage.


Shelley Ewalt — shellewalt@yahoo.com Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Thank you Professor, for sharing this time with us. I did not yet get to take your classes and I wish it were otherwise. But I knew your name and reputation to stand for excellence. Bless you.


Mary Louise Fellows — fello001@umn.edu Minneapolis, Minnesota

My hearing of Maureen's death has brought a wave of memories back. I remember us standing in the hallway many times discussing a point of law or sharing weekend activities. I remember when she would raise her hand in class and take the discussion in an important new direction.I also remember clearly the moment I heard that Maureen decided to accept a position at Washington and Lee. I thought how lucky for us and for her future students that she has decided to use her law degree in this way. The two of us knew that we could not overcome the barriers to friendship that a teacher-student relationship erects, but we also both knew, I think,that in another context and at another time, we would have been dear friends, because we both shared a deep commitment to education and learning and friendship. My heart goes out to you Chris as you learn to go on without the love of your life.

With warmest regard,

Mary Louise Fellows

University of Minnesota


Heyward Bouknight Charlotte, North Carolina

I was schocked to learn of Professor Cavanaugh's passing. I will always remember her as one of my favorite law school professors at Washington and Lee both in the classroom and most importantly outside the classroom. No question was too small or too dumb for her to take the time to fully explain it and make sure that I understood the explanation. I only took one class from Professor Cavanaugh, but I stopped by her office on numerous occassions to ask questions. Her door was always open to talk about tax questions, writing questions, or any other topic. As brilliant as Professor Cavanaugh was, she was not a professor who looked past her students and only cared about her own writings. She always treated her students as her number one priority. I also enjoyed working with her in the VITA program where she not only trained me, someone who had never done their own taxes before, to help others in filling out their taxes, but she also agreed to be on call during those nights so I, and probably many others, could call her with my many confused questions. And she somehow could always figure out my mistakes, and allow me to assist whoever it was who needed the tax help. She will be missed.


Rachel Hanna — rachelhanna@charter.net Lewisburg, West Virginia

Prof. Cavanaugh was an extraordinary woman who treated all of her students with respect and dignity. She was a blessing to me my last year of law school. She was always concerned about the potential embarassment of a student being called upon who was not prepared. She actually cared about whether her students were learning. She often asked me about my kids, my commute, and my life. Many times when I was puzzled about a particulary difficult portion of the code I would stop by her office and within 2-3 minutes Prof. Cavanaugh would teach me the section in a way that I could understand and actually use. Because of her teaching I am more valuable. My boss always asks me about potential tax problems in corporate transactions. I didn't even like tax before Cavanaugh. I don't think I even "like" it now but Prof. Cavanaugh gave me a very useful tool for my toolbox that has probably added quite a few dollars to my salary.


Ellen Aprill — Ellen.Aprill@LLS.edu Los Angeles, California

For years, I have admired Maureen both as a scholar and a person. We first met when I, who had already been teaching at Loyola Law School for some time, was asked to be her mentor as she began her career as a law professor. Over the years, we kept in touch, particularly through ABA Tax Section meetings, and I came to learn from her in many ways. She was extraordinarily thoughtful. For example, she would send me material she thought would be of interest to me, including a book entitled “The Professor and the Madman,” by Simon Winchester, about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary, knowing it would fascinate me. When her move to Penn State was under consideration, Dean McConnaughay asked me to write an evaluation of her scholarship. Here is part of what I wrote after rereading several of her articles: "I was struck, as I have been before, about the subtlety, sophistication, and synergy her work displays. She demonstrates familiarity and mastery of such diverse topics as the American tax law, Pigouvian economics, theories of distributive justice, American constitutional history, and Greek history. Each piece has a thesis that is original and important." I will miss her very much. There are times that California seems farther away from the East than others. This is one such time, since the distance makes it impossible for me to attend the memorial service and stand beside other colleagues and friends to remember and honor her.


Drew Calder Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

I would like to express my deepest sympathies to Professor Cavanaugh's family. She made me feel that it is okay to be very enthusuastic about tax law, and was influential in my decision to pursue a career in tax. I am grateful for the spark she brought into the classroom.


Titi Talabi Fairfax, Virginia

I am so sad to hear about Prof. Cavanaugh's passing. She was such a wonderful teacher, always very encouraging, available and with such a cheerful disposition . . . it is really hard for me to believe that she had been courageously battling cancer all the while. Having just recently lost my father to cancer, I just want to say to her husband and her family, I pray that God grants you the strength, grace and courage to bear this loss. May her soul find perfect peace in the Lord.


Brianne Hoffler — brianne.hoffler@gmail.com

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When I reflect on my time in law school, Professor Cavanaugh and the tax courses that I had with her will always be a part of my reflection. Professor Cavanaugh was not only brilliant, but she also had the gift of effectively bestowing that knowledge to others. She was a very warm-hearted and kind soul, and I am privileged to have not only had the opportunity to be educated by her, but to know her as well. Professor Cavanaugh will be deeply missed, but not forgotten — she will always be a part of her students’ memories concerning their years of higher education.


Mark Shiner Beckley, West Virginia

I was very saddened to learn of Professor Cavanaugh’s untimely passing. She was a beloved teacher at Washington and Lee who will surely be missed by all whom came in contact with her. She was an exceptionally caring professor who could make the most complicated subject matter attainable. She was always quick with a smile and her sincere care for her students was evident. I will keep you in my thought and prayers.


Joseph Dodge — jdodge@law.fsu.edu Tallahassee, Florida

Maureen was a visiting professor at Florida State in the Spring of '03. This was a visit that I helped arrange after meeting her at a lunch/talk event at some professional meeting. Since she and I taught in the same fields (tax),I got to know her fairly well, especially as it turned out that we had a common outside interest, birdwatching, and the Tallahassee area is a very good domain for that (and other nature-type) activity. I remember Maureen for her constant good cheer, inquisitiveness, broad range of intellectual and other interests, seriousness about her profession, and unusual perspectives on professional (tax) issues. Maureen got rave reviews from the students at FSU. We had kept up since then. The last time I saw her was at the Critical Tax Conference in Newark about a year ago. She was then looking forward to her move to PSU/Dickinson. Maureen was a charming, warm, full-of-life unique personality. I will sorely miss her.


Tom Gallanis Lexington, Virginia

I was stunned and saddened to hear the news. Maureen was a wonderful colleague at Washington and Lee, and I miss her keenly. She had sincerity, warmth, humor, energy, and intellect all in abundance. My thoughts and prayers are very much with Chris at what must be an exceptionally difficult time.


Cyndee Findlay Burnsville, Minnesota

Maureen — A voracious appetite for learning, a loving heart for large black dogs, nothing was “Greek” to her, any excuse to travel will be considered, the owner of a green thumb and lots of apple trees, a caring, compassionate and adventuresome soul who was wise beyond her years and will be truly be missed . . . by me.


Nicola Rochester Atlanta, Georgia

Professor Cavanaugh was an amazing professor. As hard as it is to believe she actually made tax interesting. She was passionate about tax law and about teaching. Her presence will be missed.


JoAnn Coslett Goodhart

— goodhart@pa.net Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania

As her neighbor, my family only knew Maureen for a short period of time. We quickly realized that she was a terrific person. I’ve read the numerous testimonies to her great teaching ability but also the reflections of her personal reaching out to individual students. She was much like this as a neighbor. Her never-ending smile welcomed my children regularly as they came over to play with her Newfoundlands and to visit. As she was with her students, Maureen was always interested in talking to Kelsey and Hunter to see how they were and what they were up to while teaching them about the dogs. My children are very sad and will miss Maureen. We will miss a wonderful neighbor and a new friend. Our best wishes to Chris.


Jacqueline Brellochs Ithaca, New York

My connection with Maureen was through the Board of Directors of the Newfoundland Club of America. Relations were on the chilly side when I first came on in 1992 and Maureen was Recording Secretary. However, a year and a half later she phoned and offerred to circulate a petition for me to run for office again. When she resigned her Board position due to health and school, I wrote how much her input would be missed. Her reply was one I have treasured ever since. After a seven year absence, I came back on the NCA Board and last summer was pleased to be the Board member assigned to be the go-between for Maureen as chair of our Constitution and By-Laws Committee and the Board. She was a brilliant person who was deeply concerned about questions of conflict of interest. We were fortunate she was willing to add to her already heavy schedule to try to make an important difference for the Newfoundland breed she loved. I was privileged to work with her, even in limited capacity. I wish I had been able to know her better, in a more personal context. I read with awe, all the things she accomplished and how. I am so sorry for what she and Chris had to go through . . . a real tragedy.


Will Salmond and Mary Wald

— salmondlaw@aol.com Baltimore, Maryland

We knew and loved Maureen not as a colleague or academic but as a friend and part of her and Chris’ extended dog family. Our memories of Maureen will always be of a gentle, kind, and loving spirit whose love of husband and their noble Newfoundland dogs were always of a higher order. We nostalgically laugh even now with sadness of her delight in telling stories of her beloved Chris and their noble Newfoundland dogs: Maureen being pulled around the show ring at an inopportune time by a charging companion, Chris encouraging Asti to get over that last bridge for confirmation, Nomos giving care to the elderly, and births and care for an unexpected numbers of pups. Maureen loved Nomos, Dexter, Tyche, and her dogs but spoke as if she had lived and studied with Pericles and Aristotle. Her scholarship and renaissance mind made every lunch and gathering as entertaining as it was educational. To us, she was always a comforting voice who could laugh at life’s follies and frailties, once instructing us to relax and have a glass of wine when one of our common Newfoundland female dogs had incited the spirit of Aphrodite in our Newfoundland male dog. We will miss her now and her bright energy and kindness. Particularly for Chris but for the many who knew and loved Maureen and who will now miss her spirit, the injunction of Aeschylus: "Even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."


Beth Biedronski — beth.biedronski@wilmerhale.com

Washington, D.C.

Professor Cavanaugh was an excellent teacher and a wonderful person. While most people avoided Tax, those who learned from Professor Cavanaugh greatly enjoyed her classes and her fabulous teaching style and often took all of her classes. When she wasn't clarifying the Code — she was talking about her beloved dogs. She will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all whose lives she touched.


Rob Gatter Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

I remember meeting Maureen when she first visited Penn State Dickinson. As one unschooled in her fields of study, I was struck by how clearly she explained her ongoing projects and how eagerly she engaged others in conversation about their interests as well. She will be missed.


Christy Prendergast — cprendergast@alston.com Washington, D.C.

My husband and I are former students of Professor Cavanaugh during her time at Washington and Lee. She was such an inspiring person and being a part of her class was always a fun and positive experience. She was also an excellent mentor and friend to her students, and her encouragement and support (both inside and outside the classroom) was incredibly valuable to both my husband and to me. She will be missed tremendously.


Steve Tseng Lexington, Virginia

I was extremely saddened to say the least when I heard about Prof. Cavanaugh’s passing. I had the luck of being in two of her tax courses at Washington and Lee and I found her to be the most amazing professor. Her office door was always open and she always dropped what she was doing to answer your questions and always with the warmest smile. During class she was always prepared with powerpoints, handouts, humor, anything to help us learn, you could tell her students were her priority. Reading her biography, I was not surprised by the accomplished and inspiring life she lived. She will be greatly missed.


Erika Olsen Washington, D.C.

Professor Cavanaugh was a fantastic teacher and mentor, and a great part of the W&L Law School community. As a woman in a man's field, and even more in a man's specialty of a man's field, she was an inspiration. My heart goes out to her family and friends, and to the generations of budding lawyers who will be poorer for not having the benefit of her teaching.


Talline Kojian Los Angeles, California

I will always remember Professor Cavanaugh as a woman of intelligence and unfailing optimism (A rare combination in the upper echelons of legal education). She was always willing to help out her students and I for one will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to learn from her. Washington and Lee would not have been the same without her. This untimely loss is truly a tragedy.


Jane McClintock Wyatt Edina, Minnesota

I was a highschool classmate of Maureen's at Visitation in Mendota Heights, MN. Maureen was the brightest girl in our class so I am not one bit surprised to learn of her academic and professional accomplishments. I am so sorry that her bright inquiring mind has been taken from us so soon. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Jane McClintock Wyatt '72


Christopher Plum — c.plum@verizon.net Midland, VA

Maureen was a wonderful person whom I was fortunate enough to spend over thirty years with. I want to let all of you who have shared your comments know how much it means to me, and above all, to point out the obvious — that you in her eyes, each and every one of you was a member of her family, and in keeping with that, all of you have my sincere condolences.


Dan Atkinson — atkinsoncd@charter.net Spartanburg, South Carolina

Guest Book Entry: I had the privilege of learning from Prof. Cavanaugh in a large lecture environment and an intimate seminar at Washington and Lee. In both, I was impressed by her wit, grace, and compassion for students. She was the tax professor for those who struggled with tax, making complex problems seem simpler. As much as I enjoyed her as a professor, I more enjoyed knowing her as a person. I will miss her dry wit. Her family is in my thoughts and prayers.


Ryan Leonard Columbus, Georgia

I studied under Professor Cavanaugh while a law student at Washington and Lee University. Professor Cavanaugh was one of those rare professors who are more concerned with reaching students than with making them run the gauntlet of legal curriculum. I am thankful for having been in her tax class.


Joan Shaughnessy Lexington, Virginia

Maureen Cavanaugh had a deep and cultured mind and a passionate spirit. Her intellectual life was steeped in the classics. It was a delight to read and listen to Maureen's innovative arguments about the relevance of the ancient Greeks to modern law and policy. The classical tradition grounded the ethical perspective she brought to her work and provided her with the moral clarity that was so admirable and so pervasive in her life. She was also a passionate person. She cared deeply about injustice and fought against it wherever she saw it. She was passionate about what she loved as well — Chris first and foremost, but also her good friends, her beloved dogs and the beautiful lands of the Mediterranean. I was fortunate to know her; her loss diminishes all of us.


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