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UNCW Mourns the Loss of Retired Faculty Member Robert H. Cutting Jr. 

Robert (“Bob”) H. Cutting Jr., Juris Doctorate, passed away on Aug. 23 after suffering a stroke. 

Robert (“Bob”) H. Cutting Jr., Juris Doctorate

Earning his JD from the University of California Davis School of Law, Bob served in the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office and worked for the California Air Quality Board before moving to North Carolina. His work at UNCW began in 1991 and continued until his retirement in 2015. He first served as a lecturer in the Cameron School of Business, before becoming an associate professor and founding member of the Department of Environmental Sciences.

Professor Larry Cahoon (Department of Biology and Marine Biology) and Professor Emeritus Jack C. Hall (EVS) share this about their late colleague: 

“Bob had two passions in his professional life: service to the law and protection of the environment. Those passions came through in his teaching and his scholarly work. He was a leader in showing students the importance of the human dimension aspect of the environment.  

Bob taught environmental law, a core course for all EVS majors. He also co-taught a course in forensic environmental science, the first in the United States, to teach undergraduate and graduate students how to investigate environmental crime.  

Bob was the architect of the EVS Internship Program, which was nationally recognized as a model for applied learning and a significant factor in the growth of the EVS program. The internship program included collaborations with biology and placing UNCW interns with the Army Corps of Engineers. Bob provided valuable beyond-the-classroom learning opportunities for many at UNCW who might not have otherwise had them.  

Bob’s most significant contribution to research and the cause of environmental protection was the application of fundamental property rights to curbing pollution. The concept was simple: under the common law tradition of private property rights, property owners should enjoy the right to keep pollution off their property. Bob published articles in prestigious law reviews and scientific journals explaining this concept to new audiences.” 

He is survived by his wife, Sally MacKain, a psychology professor at UNCW; his sons, David and Henry; his brother, Richard and sister-in-law, Reba.  

More about Bob’s life and ways to honor his memory may be found in his online obituary.