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Yale 62

Michael Martin Uhlmann

BORN: December 29, 1939
DIED: October 8, 2019

After a very distinguished career in government, law, and academia, our classmate Mike Uhlmann died of pancreatic cancer on October 9, 2019. Born in Washington, DC, Mike attended the Hill School before entering Yale. As a member of Calhoun College, he roomed with Paul Bursiek and Alexander Carney, and played football, basketball and crew for the college. Although he majored in history, he was extremely generous in his extracurricular activities as Vice-Chairman of the Yale Daily News, President of the Calliopean Society and as a member of Torch, Berzelius, the Elizabethan Club, the Yale Political Union and Young Americans for Freedom. He was awarded the Ten Eyck Prize. He earned his LLB at the University of Virginia and his PhD in Government at the Claremont Graduate University, where he also taught from 2002.

His PhD dissertation on the Electoral College helped Sen. James F. Buckley, whom he served as counsel, to assist in scuttling the proposed constitutional amendment to establish direct presidential election. He drafted the first Human Life amendment, held posts as assistant general counsel of the Federal Trade Commission and Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs at the Department of Justice. He worked in the White House for Presidents Reagan and George H. Bush.

The Washington Times’ eloquent summation of his personality and character reads: “Above all, Michael was a man of great faith and great patriotism, a serious and contemplative thinker who also told a fine joke. Charming and gracious, he built countless deep friendships. (I add, certainly begun even before Yale!) He often gave support when support was needed but not expected, and was boundlessly kind to the least fortunate. Never slow with a retort, he enjoyed being described as a co-conspirator (‘currently unidentified,’ he would add) but was always more of a confidante who always gave good counsel.”

In his speech accepting Claremont Institute’s Henry Salvatori prize in 2018, he counseled, “Take time to know your Creator, to acknowledge His beneficence, and to give thanks for His gifts of life, love, and laughter.”

Al Chambers added that Michael was proud to be a conservative leader on campus: “…he cared a great deal about traditional Conservative positions and defended them. Several of us on the Yale News were in what we called the Liberal Basketball League (LBL). Uhlmann, who was Vice Chairman [of the News] and also athletic, formed what became called the Conservative Basketball Association (CBA). The LBL and the CBA were real and faced off on the court a few times, just as they did in politics and journalism on campus.”

Michael is survived by his brother, Donald; five children: Rachael, Peter, Jennifer, Rebecca, and Sarah; and ten grandchildren: Hawkins, Sophie, Greta, Henry, Madeleine, Lily, Lucy, Isabella, Juliet, and Max.

— John Harger Stewart