Reception for former Vice Dean Wayne Renke

Justice Renke says farewell to the Faculty of Law after over 20 years of passionate legal education.

Kate Andress - 27 February 2015

Vice Dean Renke received a warm welcome in the CN Alumni Hall yesterday as he entered the room after a long day serving in his new role as Justice on the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench.

Dean Paton was the first to take the podium at the reception. He commented on Justice Renke's "passion for legal education, passion for the students, and passion for his colleagues". Vice Dean Yahya then spoke of how Justice Renke touched the lives of so many people in the University, and there was unanimous agreement among those in attendance.

LSA President Scott Meyer represented the student voice when he took the podium and discussed how much the students enjoyed their experiences in Justice Renke's classroom. Other common reactions Scott heard from the students regarding Justice Renke's appointment included an acknowledgment of Justice Renke's amazing accomplishments, and gratefulness that gavels are not used in Canada because Justice Renke's sheer strength would destroy them.

Former Dean Percy joked that upon 21.5 years of working Justice Renke finally reached the point of a mandatory sabbatical, and accepted his new position as the only alternative. Only such a strong work ethic would enable someone to teach multiple courses, sit as President of the AASUA, be Special Advisor to the Provost, and be seconded to the University of Alberta International. Justice Renke never said no to a request and was always willing to help out.

Justice Renke captivated the audience with his heartfelt words, just as he has captivated his students for many years. He acknowledged his terrific colleagues and staff, and stated that his accomplishments were only possible because of their support. After reminiscing about his career evolutions from student to Justice, he shared his motto: "better lucky than smart".

Justice Renke may be lucky, but he is certainly nothing less than brilliant. Professor Ziff vouched for this as he recounted his experience of having Justice Renke as one of his criminal law pupils in 1982. Student Renke (as he then was) had to defer his final exam when his wife went into labour, but a newborn baby did not prevent him from getting the top mark in the class.

We will miss him at the University, but his judicial appointment is well-deserved and if we had to lose him, what better place than to the Bench. Congratulations, and farewell Justice Renke.