Rowland W. Barnes '62 Memorial Project
On March 11, 2005, the Lebanon Valley College Community was devastated to learn of the death of the Hon. Rowland W. Barnes, a successful alumnus, generous supporter, and treasured friend. A Georgia state judge, Rowland Barnes had been gunned down in his Fulton County Courthouse (for further details, see the historical information section in the lower part of this page).
One of the Valley's most prominent alumni, Judge Barnes had kept in touch with classmates and teammates for decades following his 1962 graduation. In the aftermath of the sorrow, alumni and friends came together for a special purpose -- to honor this man who gave so much of himself to his family, his community, and to his alma mater. The Rowland W. Barnes '62 Memorial Project Committee was formed; their goal has been to create a scholarship in memory of Judge Barnes that would benefit a student actively involved in civic engagement.
The goal of the Rowland W. Barnes '62 Memorial Project has been to raise funds to support this scholarship. Benefiting a student in his/her junior and senior years, the scholarship ideally will be awarded to a student who is planning to attend law school. Furthermore, just like Rowland, the student will have a commitment to democratic values and to making a contribution to society as a whole.
The Barnes Scholarship Fund will raise at least $50,000 for the scholarship and enable both a junior and senior student to be named as Barnes Scholars. If you would like to make a contribution, please contact the LVC Development Office at 717-867-6227.
September 2007: The first Barnes Scholar has been named. He is Dwight A. Decker Jr., a member of the Class of 2009 at LVC. Dwight is from Harrisburg, and a graduate of Central Dauphin East High School. He pursued a dual major in political science and philosophy, with a minor in law and society. During the Spring 2008 semester, he participated in the College's study abroad program in Perugia, Italy. On campus, Dwight was a resident assistant for North College, the community service-driven house on campus. He was also a peer tutor, co-president of the Tae Kwon Do club, and a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Since graduating from LVC, Dwight has entered law school and is currently completing his JD at Penn State Dickinson School of Law.
The Community of Lebanon Valley College was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of the Hon. Rowland W. Barnes '62, a Fulton County, Georgia, Superior Court judge, who was killed in his Atlanta, Ga. courtroom on Friday, March 11. His court reporter and a deputy were killed and an additional deputy was wounded after a defendant grabbed a gun from a deputy sheriff and opened fire, news reports said. A search for the suspect, identified by police as Brian Nichols, 34, ended with his surrender after a daylong manhunt.
The suspect was reportedly in Barnes' courtroom facing a retrial for rape and kidnapping after his first trial resulted in a hung jury. Nichols fled immediately after the shootings and was believed to have tried to carjack several vehicles. Barnes, who presided over civil and criminal cases was "extremely highly thought of in the legal community," attorney B.J. Bernstein told CNN.
"The sadness among lawyers is so great, it can't be expressed," defense attorney Ed Garland was quoted as saying on the WXIA-TV Atlanta website. "Of course, he was adored by his family. Barnes was "a bright light for justice, with huge compassion and love and humor. The whole state and every citizen has had a great loss today," Garland continued. "He was just deeply loved. Everyone knew that he cared about justice for both sides."
Barnes was also highly regarded at Lebanon Valley College, where he was an economics major who played back-up quarterback on the football team to which Gregory G. Stanson '63, now vice president for enrollment and student services, was a student manager. "Everyone liked him," Stanson said. "He was a very personable guy, caring and compassionate - a people guy."
Barnes was last on campus on October 9, 2004, for the dedication of the John Zola Memorial, a statue of a teammate who died after collapsing during a football game in September 1961. During his recent visit to LVC, Stanson recalled, " Barnes talked on and on about how much he liked being a judge, because he liked working with people, trying to rehabilitate folks. He would go out of his way to be so fair."
Coach William McHenry of Wooster, Ohio, who coached Barnes for a year at LVC, recalled that as a young athlete, " Barnes had a wonderful attitude. He recognized his role as a back-up quarterback, and it was never a problem for him. He never asked for more playing time." Barnes was part of the 1961 MAC Southern Division Championship Team that has remained close throughout the years, and now holds reunions at LVC every few years.
Judge Barnes joined the bench on July 10, 1998. He is also a 1972 graduate of Emory Law School in Atlanta. Barnes is survived by his wife, Claudia, his adult daughters Kiley and Holly, his stepchildren Dia, Lonnie, Leah, and Jesse, and three grandchildren.
Most recently, Judge Barnes (pictured in the second row, second from the left) returned to the LVC for the unveiling of the John Zola Memorial. Dedicated on Saturday, October 9, 2004, the bronze bust honors Judge Barnes' teammate and friend John Zola who in September of 1961 suffered a fatal injury in the football game against Drexel.