David Ruder, former Northwestern law school dean and ex-SEC chairman, dies at 90

During his time as dean, he helped to plan the construction of the campus’ Rubloff Building, the remodeling of the Levy Mayer and McCormick Halls and recruited several top scholars to join the school’s faculty.

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David Ruder, dean of Northwestern University School of Law from 1977 to 1985 and a former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, died Saturday.

David Ruder, dean of Northwestern University School of Law from 1977 to 1985 and a former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, died Saturday.

Northwestern University

David Ruder, dean of Northwestern University School of Law from 1977 to 1985 and former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, died Feb. 15 at 90.

Ruder joined the Northwestern Law faculty in 1961, and during his time as dean, he helped to plan the construction of the campus’ Rubloff Building, the remodeling of the Levy Mayer and McCormick Halls, recruited several top scholars to join the school’s faculty, led a $25 million Law School capital campaign, as well as aided in convincing the American Bar Association and the American Bar Foundation to move their headquarters to the Rubloff Building.

David Ruder was dean of the Northwestern University School of Law from 1977 to 1985. He died Saturday at age 90.

David Ruder was dean of the Northwestern University School of Law from 1977 to 1985. He died Saturday at age 90.

Northwestern University

Ruder served as chairman of the SEC from 1987 to 1989 after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan for the position. As chairman he confronted the largest single-day stock market crash in United States history on Oct. 19, 1987. Working with Reagan, the Department of Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Congress and the Exchanges, the SEC put in place new methods to protect the markets, including “circuit breakers” that are still used today.

Ruder was born May 25, 1929, in Wausau, Wisconsin. He received a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in 1951 from Williams College. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to his home state to get his law degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1957, with plans to practice law with his father. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Wisconsin-Madison on May 17, 2002.

Ruder is survived by his wife, Susan; daughter Julia; sons David Ruder II and John, stepchildren Elizabeth and Rebecca; and grandchildren Jack, Ashley, Nathalie, Wes, Quin, Sarah, Maureen, Travis and Aurora.

Visitation will take place between 1 and 5 p.m. Feb. 22, at Kelley and Spalding Funeral Home, 1787 Deerfield Rd., Highland Park. A memorial service at the law school is scheduled for 2 p.m. April 18.

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