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ROXANA CANNON ARSHT L’ 39, a diminutive lady who cast a giant shadow as the first woman judge in Delaware, died last October. She was 88.
A trailblazer and mentor to women in her home state who aspired to the judiciary, Judge Arsht served twelve years on the Family Court of Delaware after being appointed at age 56.
Her philanthropy cut a wide swath as well. She contributed to many causes in Delaware and to Penn Law, from which she graduated in 1939, one of only two women in her class.
“Roxana had a sparkle in her eye and an interest in women’s place in the law,” said Gil Sparks L’73, a partner at Morris Nichols Arsht and Tunnell in Wilmington. “She was a generation or maybe two generations ahead (of her time). Just by force of her interests and personality she was able to make (enormous) contributions to our community.”
Among those contributions, she established the S. Samuel Arsht Professorship in Corporate Law at Penn Law in 2001. The $2 million endowment honored her late husband, a mastermind behind the overhaul of the Delaware General Corporation Law in 1967 and a longtime dean of the Delaware corporate bar. Arsht and her husband jointly received the Penn Law Alumni Award of Merit in 1992.
“She was interested in thinking and learning and recognized the quality of Penn as an institution, and saw that this (the professorship) was an appropriate way to honor Sam,” Sparks said.