A Message from the Dean to the NDLS Community

Author: Dean Nell Jessup Newton

By Nell Jessup Newton, Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law

Bob And Fran At Biolchini Dedication Robert and Fran Biolchini at the dedication of Biolchini Hall of Law.

I am very sorry to report that Robert F. Biolchini, trustee and generous benefactor of the Law School, passed away yesterday, November 8.  

​Bob was a partner with the Tulsa, Okla., law firm of Stuart, Biolchini & Turner and served as president and chief executive officer of PennWell Corp., a privately owned Tulsa-based media company founded in 1910 that publishes 75 international weekly and monthly business-to-business magazines and conducts more than 60 business-to-business conferences and exhibitions on six continents. He was also the chief executive officer of Bancshares of Jackson Hole (Wyo.), Valley National Bank, Lake Bancshares, Ameritrust, and a director of American Business Media.

Bob was a generous benefactor to our Law School.  He and his wife Fran created the Biolchini Family Chair in Law, currently held by the philosopher John Finnis, as well as the Erma V. Biolchini Endowed Scholarship Fund, named in honor of Bob’s mother.  In addition, their transformative gift was a linchpin in the renovation of our original law building, now renamed Biolchini Hall of Law.  

At the celebration of the rededicated Biolchini Hall, Bob and Fran dedicated Biolchini Hall “to their six children and to all those who study here, seeking God’s Justice through Faith and the Rule of Law.” 
Bob is survived by his beloved wife and our dear friend, Fran, and their children Douglas, Frances, Tobin, Robert, Tom, and Christi.

His son Tom Biolchini is a member of our Law Advisory Council.  

In the coming hours I will be posting a fuller remembrance of this memorable man who loved life, his family, the Church, and Notre Dame.