Dean’s Last Message Dear Alumni and Friends,
This is the last time I speak to you from this page. In the next issue of this magazine, you will be greeted by our new dean, Peter Letsou. When I accepted the honor of this deanship in 1999, the national average length of service for law deans was only 2.3 years. When asked how long I was willing to serve, I promised “five good years,” an answer that was either presumptuous or too optimistic. I am now completing 12 years in this position (and 19 years in academic administration).
Dean Symeon C. Symeonides
It is time for a change, for both the school and me. The school needs new energy and new ideas, and I would like to return to teaching and scholarship, which is my true love. For these reasons, I have decided to step down from the deanship at the end of this academic year.
Whether or not these have been “good years” is for you to judge. What I do know is that whatever progress our school has made during this period is due to the individual and collective efforts of our students, faculty and staff, the guidance and support of President Pelton and the Board of Trustees, and the generosity of our alumni and friends. It has been my privilege and good fortune to serve as dean during this period. I am delighted that Associate Dean Peter Letsou has agreed to serve as our dean for the next two critical years of presidential transition at Willamette. I have worked closely with Peter in the last five years, and have had many opportunities to observe his multiple talents, his exceptional work ethic and personal integrity. He is a brilliant and hard-working individual and I am sure that under his able leadership our school will continue to excel. He will have my full support, and I hope you will give him yours.
Some Highlights of Symeonides’ Deanship 1999–2011 Bar passage. Reversed 1990s decline and reached highest passage rate in 30 years and highest in the state of Oregon. Value-added. WUCL ranks second in “best value” among the nation’s 107 private law schools. Faculty productivity. WUCL ranks first among Oregon’s law schools in per capita faculty publications in top journals.
In deciding whether to come to Willamette in 1999, I asked myself Fund-raising. Raised $19.6 million for endowment and operational whether this was a place that I could proudly call home after my support (compared to $5.4 million raised in the previous 116 years). deanship, which I intended to last for only five years. My answer then was an intuitive yes. Now it is a knowing yes. I am proud to be a member of this collegial and caring community of learning, and I intend to remain one for many years to come. I look forward to teaching more courses, and I am excited about my scholarship projects, which include completing three unfinished books, spending significant time in Brussels chairing a major law reform project for the European Union, and teaching again at the Hague Academy of International Law. Thanks again for the honor of serving you for the last 12 years, and for all of your support. Cordially,
Symeon C. Symeonides Dean and Alex L. Parks Distinguished Professor of Law
Published on Apr 24, 2014
A Man for the Times: Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz and six Willamette grads talk about their careers on the bench