Assistant Dean McNamara Retires

After 22 collective years at The John Marshall Law School, John M. McNamara, assistant dean for Institutional Affairs (IA), retired on Dec. 31, 2011.

In his position, McNamara communicated between IA departments, including Event Management, Public Relations and Advertising, Publications and Website Management, to faculty, centers, departments and organizations throughout John Marshall. McNamara came to the law school in 1988 as communication coordinator. He used his wealth of knowledge in media and press relations, speech writing, advertising copywriting, and writing, editing, and producing a variety of publications, to disseminate John Marshall’s message.

McNamara handled all publications, media and press relations, advertising and writing singlehandedly in the late ’80s. His expertise was accrued from his time as a media consultant, a technical writer, an executive director of a nonprofit organization, a public information officer, a public affairs director, a copywriter and a news reporter.

Over time, McNamara was able to build a full department.  He first hired a PR person to assist him. He was given responsibility for the Events Department, and he oversaw the former Media Services Department. As the law school neared its centennial, McNamara hired an editor who produced the Comment magazine. Contract design and publications work was brought in-house, and over the past 10 years, McNamara hired staff to develop John Marshall’s website.

While at John Marshall, McNamara was dedicated to addressing the needs of his colleagues while creating a relaxed work environment. Heading a department of communicators, McNamara fostered creativity and cultivated a strong sense of camaraderie among Institutional Affairs.

A Vietnam War veteran, McNamara served as Vietnamese linguist in the United States Air Force. He graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Science degree, where he studied journalism, political science and creative writing.

Throughout his career McNamara dedicated his free time to creative writing publishing short stories in Crosscurrents, Old Hickory Review, the Piedmont Literary Review, the Minotaur, Snapdragon, Four Quarters, FlashFiction, Quick Fiction, Bear River Review and Inside Running. In 1999 he was awarded a professional artist residency at the OxBow Summer Arts Program for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Saugatuck, Mich., where he focused on writing his first novel, A Life Without Grace.

McNamara and his wife, Robin S. Tryloff, live in Downers Grove, Ill., where he works full-time as a novelist and creative writer.


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