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University of Miami School of Law's first female dean dies at 89

M. Minnette Massey retired last year after more than 50 years at school

M. Minnette Massey, the first female dean at the University of Miami School of Law, died Sunday at the age of 89.
M. Minnette Massey, the first female dean at the University of Miami School of Law, died Sunday at the age of 89. (University of Miami)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Family, friends and colleagues were gathering Friday to pay their respects to longtime University of Miami law professor and alumnus M. Minnette Massey.

Massey, who was the first female dean of the University of Miami School of Law, died Sunday at the age of 89.

"She was a pioneer in women's rights and minority rights," Jeff Tomberg, an attorney in Boynton Beach, said of his aunt. "She would not let any obstacle stand in the way of her goals, and she inspired several generations of students."

Massey joined the University of Miami faculty upon graduating from law school in 1951. After earning a master's degree in law from New York University, Massey returned to Miami and became acting dean at the law school from 1962-65, the first woman to serve in that role.

The author of three books and numerous articles on civil procedure and federal jurisdiction, Massey taught courses in those subjects at the law school. She was a member of the American Law Institute and served on the NCAA Committee on Infractions and the Federal Judicial Nominating Committee.

"She was an amazing, well-respected genius in the area of law," Tomberg said.

Massey retired from the University of Miami in 2015. Born in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1927, Massey first arrived on the Coral Gables campus in 1944, spending more than half of her life at Miami.

"Our dear friend and colleague Minnette Massey was a remarkable person and genuinely one of a kind," University of Miami School of Law Dean Patricia D. White said in a statement.

Funeral services were scheduled Friday afternoon at the historic Trinity Cathedral in Miami. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the M. Minnette Massey Scholarship Fund at the University of Miami School of Law.


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