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W&L Mourns the Loss of Professor Roger Groot

Memorial Service

  • Memorial Service Video
    3:20 - Reading By Lash LaRue
    6:20 - Reading by Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper, USMC (Ret.)
    12:00 - David Partlett reads letter from Gov. Mark Warner
    14:00 - Lyman Johnson reads excerpts from Fieldnotes
    18:30 - Remarks by Uncas McThenia
    32:50 - Homily by Rev. David Cox
  • A Man Standing High - by Uncas McThenia. This is the text of the remarks by Uncas at Roger's memorial service. (PDF Format)
  • Memorial Service Bulletin(PDF Format)


About Roger D. Groot



W&L Mourns the Loss of Professor Roger Groot

Roger D. Groot, longtime faculty member and Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law, passed away this weekend of natural causes. He was 63.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. this Wednesday in Lee Chapel. A reception will follow in Evans Dining Hall. The family has asked that, in
lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Hospice, Christ Episcopal Church in Buena Vista, or to the charity of your choice. The school has also established a term professorship in Professor Groot's honor.

Groot joined the School of Law at Washington and Lee University in 1973, teaching criminal law and procedure and becoming one of the nation's top criminal law experts. In 1990 he was named Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law, and in 1999 he took over direction of the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, a trial-level legal aid clinic focused on capital murder defense. A scholar of incredible breadth, Groot was a respected legal historian in addition to his expertise in criminal law.

Groot retired as director of the VCCC in 2004 but continued his distinctive career as a teacher, scholar and advocate. This summer Groot was appointed by Gov. Mark Warner to the newly formed Forensic Science Board, created by the General Assembly to establish policies, procedures and standards to guide the operations of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. On leave from the School of Law at the time of his death, Groot had just completed a federal capital defense trial in which the defendant was sentenced to life without parole.

Roger Groot was born July 31, 1942, in Mt. Vernon, Wash., but grew up in south Texas. He attended Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate, graduating magna cum laude in 1962 with a degree in Russian. After serving six years in the Marine Corps, including a tour of duty in Vietnam, Groot attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with high honors in 1971. He taught at the University of Georgia for two years before joining Washington and Lee.

He is survived by his wife, Ellen, three children, and three grandchildren.

Share Your Thoughts

We've established a web forum where you can share your thoughts and memories of Professor. Groot. Registration is not required to post comments. Go to Forum

Memorial Gifts

Washington and Lee School of Law has established the Professor Roger D. Groot Professorship to honor his commitment and many contributions to the W&L community, its students, alumni, faculty, and staff. If you are interested in making a memorial contribution to honor Roger, send your contribution to Paul Gardner, Director of Law School Relations, W&L School of Law, Lewis Hall #517, Lexington, VA 24450-2116 or visit the online giving form and specify in the "Special Instructions" field that your donation is for the Groot Professorship.

Your condolences may be sent to Ellen Groot and the Groot family at 619 East 25th Street, Buena Vista, VA 24416.

Personal Statement by Dean David Partlett:

My colleague and friend, Roger Groot, will be deeply mourned by his family, his colleagues, and numerous friends, a host of whom are present and former students.  Roger Groot was a lion in so many ways – as a lawyer, a teacher, a scholar, a community leader, an outdoorsman, and a family man.  He deeply touched the lives of many.

Professor Roger Groot with one of his VCCC classes.



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