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Law School Deanship as Fast Track to University Presidency

It was big news last week when Northwestern Law School Dean David Van Zandt announced he'd be stepping down to take over as president of the New School.

In today's Corporate Counsel, David Hechler explores the law-school-dean-to-university-president phenomenon. He notes that at least four others have made or announced similar transitions this summer, and that "eight of the 63 universities that are members of the Association of American Universities (13 percent) currently have presidents who were once law school deans." Which ones? Glad you asked:

The Association of American Universities' Big Eight:

  • Lee Bollinger (president of Columbia University; was dean at University of Michigan Law School)
  • E. Gordon Gee (president of Ohio State University; was dean at West Virginia University Law School)
  • David Leebron (president of Rice University; was dean at Columbia Law School)
  • Mark Nordenberg (chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh; was dean there)
  • Harvey Perlman (chancellor of the University of Nebraska; was dean there)
  • William Powers (president of the University of Texas; was dean there)
  • Joel Seligman (president of the University of Rochester; was dean at Washington University School of Law)
  • John Sexton (president of New York University; was dean there)

According to those Hechler interviewed, law school deans tend to be good communicators. And fundraisers. Both are important aspects of running a university.

Also, lawyers like money. And university presidents do pretty well on that front.

Posted by Eric Lipman on September 1, 2010 at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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