Memorial service announced for politician, professor Dawn Clark Netsch

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A memorial service has been announced for Dawn Clark Netsch, professor of law emerita at theSchool of Law. Netsch died of complications from amyotropic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, on March 5. She was 86.

Netsch graduated from Northwestern in 1948 and received her Juris Doctor from Northwestern’s School of Law in 1952.

An expert on constitutional law, Netsch worked as a legal adviser for Illinois governor Otto Kerner in the ’60s.

As a member of the Illinois Constitutional Convention in 1970, she helped to shape the current Constitution of the State of Illinois. The same year, Netsch was elected to the Illinois State Senate, a position she held for 18 years, representing the 13th and later the 4th district.

In 1965, she joined Northwestern as the law school’s first female faculty member and later became a professor emerita. Most recently, she served on the board of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

Netsch became Illinois Comptroller in 1990 and in 1994 was the first woman to run for Illinois governor as the official Democratic candidate. Netsch was known for her work with the LGBT community and was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1995.

Her husband of 45 years, architect Walter A. Netsch, died in 2008.

The memorial service will be held this Saturday, April 13 at 2 p.m. in Thorne Auditorium at the Chicago campus, 375 East Chicago Ave. The service is open to the public and a reception in the Atrium will immediately follow.

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