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Capital Mourns the Loss of Professor Michael Distelhorst
The Capital University community is deeply saddened by the passing of Michael Distelhorst, law professor, alumnus, colleague and mentor. News of his death was shared with students, faculty, staff and alumni at Capital Law School and the main campus in Bexley Thursday morning, February 18, 2016. “Professor Distelhorst was a teacher, mentor and dear friend to each of us,” Interim Law School Dean and Professor Rachel Janutis wrote in an email to the community. “He was one of my first mentors and friends at Capital. As I struggled to adjust to a new profession, a new classroom and a new community, he was always there to offer me a welcoming smile and his encouraging words. I know that he has done the same for many others, and that we all hold similar fond memories. I hope that we can come together as a community to support one another as we confront this loss, and help each other move forward.”Distelhorst, who taught Contract Law, Secured Transactions and Payment Systems at the Law School, as well as Business Ethics in the Capital MBA program, was a valued and respected member of the Capital University community for 45 years. A two-time Capital graduate, Distelhorst earned his bachelor's degree in accounting from Capital University in 1971 and his Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School 1976. He joined the faculty as a professor of law in 1980. “Professor Distelhorst was a staunch advocate for ethical leadership,” said Provost Richard M. Ashbrook.” He taught students to apply legal and business concepts while engaging in principled judgment, respecting difference and diversity, and fostering the greater good. His professional and personal life emulated these same high standards."Ashbrook said Distelhorst’s belief in Capital’s mission and his commitment to its students and his colleagues will be a lasting contribution to the university and to the Central Ohio community. Distelhorst was a passionate advocate for students and legal education reform. As a respected and appreciated professor, he was a nine-time recipient of the Professor of the Year Award and was the recipient of the first Distinguished Faculty Service Award given by the Law School alumni. Most recently, he served on the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Professionalism and participated in the planning of the court’s Student to Lawyer Symposium, a biennial conference bringing together students, lawyers and educators to discuss legal education.Before coming to Capital, Distelhorst practiced both general and business law. He was admitted to the bar of the State of Ohio, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and Supreme Court of the United States. Distelhorst was a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a fellow of the Ohio State Bar and Columbus Bar foundations. A respected scholar and speaker in the areas of business and legal ethics, Distelhorst was a trusted advisor of corporations, councils and boards on matters of compliance and best practices in ethical leadership. Details about plans for services and other opportunities to honor his memory and many contributions to the legal, professional and Capital communities will be shared as arrangements are finalized.