Terry J. Tondro, emeritus professor of law, died on April 26. He was 73.
Tondro was known as a dedicated and respected teacher, scholar, and consultant; passionate protector of Connecticut’s heritage; world traveler; wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend; and gourmet cook.
Tondro held an LL.B. from New York University and a master’s degree in American Studies from Yale. He taught a wide range of courses during his 35 years (1973-2008) on the Law School faculty, including Property, Real Estate Transactions, Law and the Visual Arts, Environmental Law, Cities and Suburbs, and Land Use Controls, a subject he wrote passionately about. His book, Connecticut Land Use Regulation: A Legal Guide for Lawyers, Commissioners, Consultants, and Other Users of the Land, is, in the words of UConn law professor Bill Breetz, “the bible of the land use community to this day.”
The Law School’s inaugural holder of the Thomas F. Gallivan, Jr. Professor of Real Property Law, Tondro was a tireless advocate for the preservation of historic buildings and natural landscapes and for the revitalization of urban neighborhoods. He played a lead role in the creation of the Weir Farm National Historic Site (Connecticut’s first national park); served for many years as president of the Hartford Architecture Conservancy; was one of Connecticut’s advisors to the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and served as a member of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing.
He also helped plan and effectuate the Law School’s move to its current West End campus. “Terry was among the first to see the potential of the Hartford Seminary campus,” recalled Hugh Macgill, former Dean of the Law School, at Tondro’s retirement celebration in 2008. “When we moved in, the faculty voted him first choice in office selection.”
The faculty’s respect and affection for Tondro was more than matched by his commitment to the UConn Law School, where he helped create the joint J.D.-M.A. program in public policy studies with Trinity College; taught in the school’s exchange program with the University of International Business and Economics in China; and conceived the idea of the Gallivan conferences, a program that brings regional and national scholars to campus each year to address timely issues in real estate law.
“Terry’s inestimable contributions to the Law School community will long be remembered by all who had the pleasure of knowing this learned, multi-faceted, urbane, and deeply generous man,” said Dean Jeremy Paul. “He will be deeply missed.”
More than 250 people gathered in the William F. Starr Hall Reading Room on May 7 to celebrate Tondro’s life. The event, held on what would have been Tondro’s 74th birthday, featured warm remembrances of his life. Those paying tribute to Tondro included Law School colleagues Hugh Macgill and Bill Breetz; Tondro’s wife of 47 years, Helle; and his two sons, Trevor and Maximilian, both of whom sported meticulously knotted bowties, their father’s trademark.
“Some of you have traveled thousands of miles to be here today and some of you have come from just down the street,” said Trevor Tondro. “Your presence here is a testament to my father, who was both a man of the community and the world.”
To honor Terry Tondro, the Tondro family has requested that contributions be made to The University of Connecticut Law School Foundation for the Terry J. Tondro Award, an annual essay competition for law students on “issues dear to Terry” (such as land use, historic preservation, affordable housing, and urban revitalization). For more information contact Stacy Velarde at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 203-962-4952.