1933 - 1955: Claude Westcoat Pettit
Claude W. Pettit served as Dean of the Ohio Northern University College of Law from 1932-55.
Pettit was born in 1891 in Lancaster, Ohio. He received his A.B. in 1911 from Ohio State University, his LL.B. in 1916 from Case Western Reserve University and his LL.M. in 1932 from George Washington University.
While serving as a U.S. Army Captain during World War I, Pettit commanded a company of the American Expeditionary Force in France.
After six years of private legal practice, Pettit joined the faculty at Ohio Northern University College of Law in 1925. He was appointed Dean of the ONU College of Law in 1932. He retired as Dean in 1955, at which time he received the title of Dean Emeritus of the College of Law.
Following his retirement as dean, Pettit became the Hardin County Probate and Juvenile Judge in 1955, and served until 1967. During this time, he also taught part-time at Ohio Northern.
He was an active member of the Ada Presbyterian Church for 43 years, 25 of which were spent as an elder. He was also an active member of the Kiwanis Club and Ada Public Library Board for decades. In addition, he was a member of fraternal groups, legal associations, and veterans organizations. He was the recipient of “Ada’s Distinguished Citizen of 1966” award and received a 50-year membership certificate from the Ohio Bar Association in 1966.
In 1957, Pettit received an honorary LL.D. from ONU. In 1971, he received the Northern Recognition Medal from ONU.
In 1973, when the new law college facility was completed, the college was named the Claude W. Pettit College of Law.