SIU Law mourns loss of Professor Bill Schroeder

Southern Illinois University



SIU Law mourns loss of Professor Bill Schroeder

August 29, 2016


"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart." - The Little Prince

The entire SIU Law community mourns the loss of our beloved professor, colleague, and friend Bill Schroeder who passed away on Sunday, August 28, 2016. To say that Professor Schroeder was a unique individual is an understatement; to say that we are heartbroken and that he was well loved seems inadequate to express what a beloved member of our community he was and how much we will miss him.

Professor Schroeder was a beloved teacher, scholar, friend, mentor, colleague, father, and brother and has left a lasting impact on everyone whose lives he touched. That includes generations of students who adored him, hundreds of clients whose respect and gratitude he earned by giving them outstanding representation, colleagues who were touched in so many ways by his years of friendship, and, of course, his family, who came first in his life and whom he loved with all his heart.

William Schroeder joined the faculty in 1984 and has been a cherished member of the SIU Law community ever since. He taught evidence, criminal procedure, and other courses related to criminal law, which was his third passion—following his family and students.

He brought enthusiasm, energy, and humor into his classrooms and mesmerized his students with his wit and wisdom. His commitment to SIU Law went well beyond the classroom and he would help any student with anything they needed.  At every turn, Bill demonstrated what it really means to be a member of a community, and the SIU Law community is the better for having been the beneficiary of his gifts and talents for so many years.

William Schroeder earned his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Illinois and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School. He was a member of the Bars of Illinois; Kentucky; Massachusetts; Missouri; U.S. District Court, Massachusetts and Southern Illinois; U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits; and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Prior to his career in academia, he practiced law as an Assistant District Attorney, Bristol County, MA; Deputy Director and Director of Litigation, Monroe County Legal Assistance, Rochester, NY; Assistant Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, MA; Associate, Crane, Inker & Oteri, Boston, MA; and Reginald Heber Smith Fellow, Boston Legal Assistance.

Before coming to SIU, he taught as an instructor at Boston University Law School, a teaching fellow at Boston College Law School, a visiting professor of law at the University of Missouri-Columbia, an associate professor of law at the University of Alabama. He also taught several times as a visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Among his many professional activities, he served as a Reporter for the Illinois Supreme Court Benchbook on Evidence (2006 to present) and as a Fulbright Scholar to Lithuania in 2004. In 2015 he was appointed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to the Illinois Civil Service Commission.

He wrote several books on Evidence and many scholarly articles. His scholarship was frequently cited in other law review articles as well as by courts including the Supreme Court of the United States.

He received the SIU School of Law’s Senior Class Award in 1988, 1990, 1993, and 2002. He was the first recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching in 1995, and he received the Outstanding Scholar Award in 2009. He was a member of the Order of the Coif (Boston College Chapter).

Although his bio is impressive, it does not capture the unique individual that Bill was. Everyone who knew him has a special memory or two or three or more … and all of the special memories involve humor, happiness, and the joy that it was to be occupying the same space on this planet with Bill. He will forever be in our hearts and we will always remember him with a smile on our faces.

If you would like to give a memorial donation to ensure that future generations of SIU Law students remember and benefit from Bill's legacy, you may donate to the Professor Bill Schroeder Scholarship in his memory. Please indicate in the comments section of the online giving page that your gift is "in memory of Bill Schroeder". If you have any questions, contact Dean Cynthia Fountaine at 618-453-8761 or

Read article in The Southern Illinoisan:
"Longtime SIU law professor who died Sunday remembered as brilliant, humorous and kind"