Daniel Bernstine, Richmond native and former college president, dies at 69

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Daniel O. Bernstine, 69, a Richmond native and El Cerrito High class president who went on to become a nationally respected legal educator and former president of Portland State University, died after of cardiac arrest at his home on Sept. 24, according to an obituary posted in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Blake Morant, George Washington University Law School dean, called Bernstine’s death a “huge loss for American legal education.”

He was the dean of the University of Wisconsin Law School before becoming president of Portland State University in Portland starting in 1997. In 2007, he was appointed to the top position of the Law School Admission Council, which lasted until his death, according to the Inquirer.

In a statement, Portland State’s current president said Bernstine “left an impressive legacy” that saw enrollment grow by more than 70 percent, along with new buildings and renovations.

“Mr. Bernstine’s unique contribution was to reach out to prospective students – especially minorities – and assure them that they could succeed in the legal field despite humble beginnings because he had,” according to the obit.

 Born to Annias and Emma Bernstine, he played football at El Cerrito High and was reportedly inspired to get into law by attending his father’s work. His father cleaned law offices as a janitor.

His launch in the legal field would lead to a lengthy, reputable and award-winning career.

He died at his home in New Hope, Penn. Read more about Bernstine’s remarkable life here.

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