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LMU School of Law named for Duncan

Influenced by an anonymous campus visit while searching for colleges with his son, U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr.’s respect for Lincoln Memorial University would become mutual.

While the Second District Republican Congressman said he “got just an extremely favorable impression” of the Harrogate campus alongside son, Zane, a former Farragut High School student, university officials have symbolized their impressions of Duncan.

The new Lincoln Memorial University-John J. Duncan Jr. School of Law, formally announced during a ceremony March 27, will be located in downtown Knoxville in the former City Hall building off Summit Hill Avenue.

“It’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever done for me, I can tell you that,” Duncan said of the honor. “I’m very appreciative and very grateful. I said at the ceremony that they had that I didn’t feel like I really deserved all that. But I was very grateful.”

Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk, Chairman of Lincoln Memorial University Board of Trustees, said, “The reason I wanted to name the law school after Jimmy Duncan is because he’s about the best person I know.

“He’s certainly a very ethical, honest Congressman,” DeBusk added. “He cares about his district, he gives back to the people.”

Planning to admit students and begin classes in August, the law school would cater especially to law students holding down day jobs with its night courses.

Contemplating what his late father — 12-term U.S. Rep. John James Duncan Sr. — would have thought of this honor, Duncan said, “He would be very pleased. My dad always wanted me to be a lawyer. … And I wanted to be from the time that I was a small boy.

“He did give me the encouragement and support. … My dad was the sweetest, kindest, toughest man I ever knew,” the Farragut resident added. “He was by far the hardest working man I’d ever seen. In a loving way he was always putting pressure on me to do more, work harder.”

Also a lawyer and judge during his career, the junior Duncan said, “I wouldn’t have gotten to do any of those things if it hadn’t been for him.”

Duncan said he “wrote the first letter to the American Bar Association starting the process that eventually led to the final approval” of LMU’s new law school.

However, Duncan added he “told ’em when they first brought it up with me it wasn’t necessary to [name it in my honor], that I would be glad to help ’em any way that I could.”

DeBusk added about Duncan, “Good guys are supposed to win.

“Hats off to him.”


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