Cincinnati was agog. The number of dignitaries arriving on the University of Cincinnati campus 80 years ago was unprecedented: Supreme Court justices, congressman, the U.S. vice president, cabinet members and even a former president. Most were alumni of UC's College of Law, eager to witness the dedication of the new Alphonso Taft Hall.
Participating in the impressive event were four of the elder Taft's sons (from left): Henry, a prominent New York attorney; former president William Howard, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Charles, publisher of the Cincinnati Times-Star and former Ohio congressman; and Horace, founder and headmaster of a private boarding school in Connecticut.
Chief Justice Taft, JD 1880, accepted an honorary doctorate that day and served as main speaker. He described his attorney father's service as a faculty member and, later, chairman of UC's board of directors. Earlier in his career, Alphonso had been a diplomatic minister to Austria and Russia, as well as Secretary of War in President Ulysses Grant's cabinet.
Among notable law alumni at the ceremony were U.S. Vice President Charles Dawes, Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth and former Speaker "Uncle Joe" Cannon.
While Taft Hall hasn't physically disappeared from the southeast corner of campus, few can find it today. Jim Shoenfeld, assistant dean of the college, explains why: When the current College of Law was built 22 years ago, new construction completely enclosed the shell of the 1925 law school.