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Meet the law dean finalists

January 30, 2008

Frederic White

And then there were three.

The MSU College of Law has been without a permanent dean since Terence L. Blackburn left on administrative leave in October 2006 and resigned in July 2007.

A dean search committee — a group of faculty members, alumni and one student representative — have evaluated the three finalists for a new dean. The university is expected to make its selection in the coming weeks.

The position is temporarily filled by Acting Dean Clifford Thompson, whose contract expires Aug. 24.

Frederic White

Age: 59

Education: B.A., 1970, Columbia University; JD, 1973, Columbia University School of Law, New York

Current Job: Dean, Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco.

What drew you to the position at MSU? “Opportunities for university, community, national and international partnerships … faculty scholarship.”

What about the college do you hope to improve if hired? “Improved cooperation and coordination of law school and university programs … greater national recognition for the law school.”

Suellyn Scarnecchia

Age: 50

Education: B.A., 1978, Northwestern University; J.D., 1981, University of Michigan

Current Job: Dean, University of New Mexico School of Law

What drew you to the position at MSU? “A desire to return to my home state and the challenge of further integrating the law college into MSU.”

What about the college do you hope to improve if hired? “Further the integration into a major research university in a way that continues to improve the legal education received by students and the scholarly environment for the faculty.”

Joan Howarth

Age: 57

Education: A.B. from Smith College; J.D. from the University of Southern California.

Current Job: William S. Boyd Professor of Law at the Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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What drew you to the position at MSU? “The opportunity to continue on a really steep upward trajectory (for the college), and I am eager to help build institutions that are ambitious and moving forward.”

What about the college do you hope to improve if hired? “There is so much ambition and so much happening at the law school, so many goals, it’s impossible for me to identify just one. But the first step in planning is for the community to do an assessment of what the strengths and weaknesses (of the school) are now.”


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