Distinguished Alumnus George Fabe ’81 Reflects on Lessons Learned from Law School
George Fabe, one of this year’s Distinguished Alumni recipients, is a Cincinnati native. Born in 1921, he attended local Walnut Hills High School before going on to the University of Cincinnati for a bachelor’s degree in economics. After college, he served in the United States Navy during World War II, as a lieutenant and as one of the commanders of the USS Dawn.
Following the war, Fabe returned to Cincinnati to serve as president of Fabe Construction Company, a position he held for over 30 years. It was then he decided to go to law school, choosing the College of Law primarily because of its location. He commented that he enjoyed law school, particularly because it was challenging intellectually. When asked about the most important thing he learned while in school, he replied, “Don’t assume you know everything!” After graduating from UC Law, Fabe served in Governor Richard Celeste’s cabinet as an Insurance Commissioner for the State of Ohio from 1982 until 1990.
An interesting connection exists between two of this year’s Distinguished Alumni: Fabe and Lou Gilligan. Fellow alum Lou Gilligan shared an intriguing story about the first time his and Fabe’s paths crossed. “I was taking his deposition when he was working for the construction company,” Gilligan said. “It went on for hours, and George seemed to avoid answering my questions as much as possible. I told him we could continue on like that as long as he wanted, and I’d just show the record to the judge. He answered my questions after that.” Gilligan laughed as he told this story, stating that the two of them became friends after Fabe went to law school. “He always joked with me that he became a lawyer because of me and that deposition,” he said.