The months have gone quickly. Sixteen of them to be precise. Sixteen months of serving as dean of your law school. Sixteen months of reconnecting with almost 30 years of former students. Sixteen months of meeting alumni whom I had not known before. What I did not know then was how enriching this journey would be. Without a doubt, the best part of being dean has been my journey with you.
I've learned about your impressive professional accomplishments and your full personal lives. I've seen pictures of your children, your spouses, your family pets. I've been welcomed into your homes, law firms and businesses for dinners, events and just for a visit. I've heard stories about your experiences as a student - most hilarious but some bittersweet. I've learned what it was like to go to law school in the old building before the move to South Henry Street, and I've gotten to know faculty whom I never met, as well as those whom I have, through your tales. I've learned about the excellence of the classroom experience that has served you so well in your careers and lives.
My goal when I became interim dean was to leave the law school in as strong a position as possible for the next dean. Through your support and through the dedication of talented faculty, students, and staff, we have succeeded. Our admissions applications have set a new record high, closing in on 5000 applications for some 200 spots. Despite tough financial times, our 2009 graduates continue to secure employment due, in large part, to the hard work of our career services office, our talented and resilient students, and committed alumni who have opened doors. Our financial position remains good despite budget cuts because of the very able management of our finance office, the increased efforts of the Law School Foundation and Law School Association Boards and our alumni and development staff, and your continued commitment to the school. Our facility is now elegant yet inviting, and will serve our faculty and students even better after several renovation projects are completed this summer. Our faculty remains as engaged as ever, both as dynamic teachers and innovative scholars.
I leave you now in the very capable hands of your next dean, Dave Douglas. I know that you will support him as generously as you have me. I will return to the faculty with a much richer appreciation of what it means to have a JD degree from Marshall-Wythe Law School. I am indebted to you for your kind and generous support. You have opened your professional and personal lives to me, and for that, I will always be grateful. Thank you!