Former UW Law School Dean George Bunn, a noted nuclear arms expert and negotiator, died of spinal cancer Sunday in Palo Alto, Calif., said his son Matthew Bunn. He was 87.
“He was very devoted to his work. So first and foremost, he was really a giant in the effort to control nuclear weapons around the world, and devoted a lot of his life to that,” said Matthew Bunn.
“He was also an avid hiker, sailor, musician,” Matthew Bunn said. “He had a good deal of fun in his life as well.”
George Bunn grew up primarily in Madison and St. Paul, Minn. He earned a degree in electrical engineering from UW-Madison and a law degree from Columbia University.
Unhappy with the level of state support for the Law School, Bunn left the school in protest in 1974. He wanted to continue to fund legal service programs for prison inmates and prosecutors’ offices, according to news reports.
In the 1960s, before joining the Law School, Bunn was a leading figure in the early days of nuclear arms control.
During the John F. Kennedy administration, he drafted legislation that created the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and became the agency’s first general counsel.
He was one of the key negotiators of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the foundation of the global effort to stem the spread of nuclear weapons. When that treaty was completed, he became U.S. ambassador to the Geneva Disarmament Conference.
Bunn spent the final part of his career at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and played a major role in debates over nuclear arms reductions.