June 13, 2016
John Weinmann (L ’52) enjoys the investiture of Professor Guiguo Wang as the Eason-Weinmann Chair of International and Comparative law in 2015.
Photo by Sally Asher
John Weinmann (second from left) and his wife, Virginia Eason Weinmann, join 2016 Eason-Weinmann lecturer Judge Ian Forrester (MCL ’69) of the European Union’s General Court and Dean David Meyer (far left) in March.
Tulane Law School is mourning former Ambassador John Giffen Weinmann (A&S ’50, L ’52), a devoted alumnus for whom the law school building is named. He died June 9 at age 87.
Weinmann was a lawyer, businessman, community leader, philanthropist and diplomat who had served on the Dean’s Advisory Board and as chair of Tulane University’s Board of Administrators. He practiced law at Phelps Dunbar for almost three decades and was general counsel to The Times-Picayune and president and director of the Waverly and Eason Oil Companies. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Finland in 1989-91 and as White House chief of protocol in 1991-93.
Former President George H.W. Bush, in whose administration Weinmann served, called him “a true Southern gentleman” in a statement to The Times-Picayune. “He loved his family and the United States of America,” Bush told the newspaper. “Barbara and I send our love and condolences to all who loved him, especially his wife, Virginia, who was a wonderful partner in all his adventures.”
Weinmann’s dedication to Tulane Law included helping create the Eason Weinmann Center for International and Comparative Law, a leading academic hub for American and foreign scholars. Weinmann and Virginia Eason Weinmann befriended numerous scholars and annually attended the Eason-Weinmann Lecture sponsored by the center.
“Ambassador Weinmann was a man of extraordinary accomplishment and vision whose legacy will shape Tulane Law School for generations to come,” Dean David Meyer said.
“He understood Tulane Law School’s natural advantage as a world leader in international and comparative law because of its distinctive civil law heritage,” Meyer said. “His decisive leadership and generous support enabled Tulane to leverage its historic strengths to become one of the world’s foremost programs in the field.”
Meyer added that “Ambassador Weinmann cemented Tulane Law School’s defining identity. Without him, Tulane Law School would not be known around the world today as a leading force in international and comparative law.”
In 2002, Weinmann received Tulane University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, the university’s highest alumni honor. Eleven years later, he was inducted as an inaugural member of the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame.
"Ambassador Weinmann was a visionary who realized the unique advantage of Tulane in international and comparative law," said Professor Guiguo Wang, a world-renowned scholar on international economic law and leader in legal education in China whom Weinmann was instrumental in recruiting to join the Tulane Law faculty. "The first impression Jack left made me feel welcome and loved in a foreign environment," Wang said. "At that very moment, I was quite sure that Tulane could be my home."
The Weinmanns also hosted a reception for a delegation of Chinese judges who attended Wang's 2015 investiture as the Eason-Weinmann Chair of International and Comparative Law.
"The way Jack and Virginia treated people, including the Chinese judges, fully demonstrated their kind nature," Wang said. "Jack will live long in my memories as my mentor and a guide in my time of need."
(Note: This story was updated June 16 to add comments from Professor Guiguo Wang.)