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University Relations

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Feb. 1, 2006
Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858.

KU names North Carolina law professor Gail B. Agrawal as dean of School of Law

LAWRENCE — University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill law professor and interim dean Gail B. Agrawal has been named the 13th dean of the University of Kansas School of Law, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Shulenburger announced today.

Agrawal, who served as a law clerk to former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, will succeed interim dean Michael Davis on July 1. Davis served as interim since Stephen McAllister resigned and returned to his teaching post last August after five years as dean.

“Gail Agrawal emerged from a field of very strong candidates as the individual best qualified to take the KU School of Law to new heights. Under her leadership the school will continue to serve the state of Kansas while ensuring that the work of its exceptional faculty make maximum impact on the national and international stages,” Shulenburger said. “Her extensive experience in corporate law, as a faculty member and dean prepare her wonderfully well for this position. Interim Dean Mike Davis did a great job of moving the school forward during this period.”

Agrawal has taught courses in health care law and regulation and professional ethics at the North Carolina law school since 1997. She rose to associate dean in 2003, senior associate dean in 2004 and last summer was named interim dean of the law school, which enrolls about 700 students and has 41 full-time faculty.

The KU law school, which enrolls more than 540 students and has 30 faculty, offers 140 courses, five certificate programs, 10 clinics and eight joint degree options. In 2004, two leading national magazines for current and prospective law students ranked KU’s law school No. 2 in the country in the annual “Best Schools for Your Money” survey.

“When I first visited Mount Oread in December, I was struck by KU’s deep and distinctive sense of place. Its law school is one of the nation’s great public law schools,” Agrawal said. “In my view, the very best place to educate lawyers for leadership, for the practice of a learned art in the public interest, is in a public law school. Green Hall has its public mission of accessibility and affordability in its very bricks and mortar. I am honored to be asked to serve as KU’s next law dean.

“The law school at KU has a remarkable history as well as a promising future. Generations of leaders have passed through its doors. As its next dean, I will give my all to be worthy of its noble past, and I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues at Green Hall to lead it to even greater achievements in the years ahead.”

A native of New Orleans, Agrawal earned a bachelor of arts in sociology at the University of New Orleans and a master’s degree in health administration and a law degree from Tulane University. Following law school, she served as a law clerk to Senior Judge John Minor Wisdom on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit before clerking for Justice O’Connor.

She was a member of the New Orleans law firm of Monroe and Lemann, where she limited her practice to health law, and later spent three years in the law department of Aetna Inc., where she provided counsel to Aetna’s health businesses. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Tulane Law School and Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and as the W. M. Keck Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.

She is a member of the American Law Institute and has served on the boards of the American Health Lawyers Association and the American Liver Foundation. She is currently a member of the federal Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation. Her research interests are health care delivery and financing and medical ethics.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., a KU law school graduate who served on the search committee, called Agrawal's selection "superb."

"The law school has an important mission within the walls of Green Hall as well as the borders of Kansas. The Dean Search Committee was presented with the task of narrowing many high-caliber candidates, and the Provost has chosen the best of the best. I am excited about the future of the school under Dean Agrawal's leadership, and I join my fellow alumni in welcoming her."

Justice O’Connor, who visited the KU law school in the 1980s, said through a spokesman at the U.S. Supreme Court that she was "just so very pleased about Gail being appointed dean of law at KU."

Agrawal is the KU law school’s first female dean. Presently, seven of KU’s 14 professional schools are led by women deans, including Interim College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Barbara Romzek.

Previous law school deans: (acting deans in italics)

1. James Woods Green, 1879-1919 (Dept. of Law became School of Law in 1893).
William Livesey Burdick, acting dean from 1919-1922 and 1934-1937.
2. Herschel Whitfield Arant, 1922-1928.
Philip Mechem, acting dean, 1928-1929.
3. Robert McNair Davis, 1929-1934.
4. Frederick J. Moreau, 1937-1957.
5. M. Carl Slough, 1957-1960.
William A. Kelly, acting dean, 1961-1962.
6. James K. Logan, 1962-1968.
William R. Scott, acting dean, 1968.
7. Lawrence E. Blades, 1968-1971.
8. Martin B. Dickinson, Jr., 1971-1979.
9. Michael J. Davis, 1979-1988, acting dean, 2005-2006
10. Robert Jerry, 1989-1993.
11. Michael Hoeflich, 1994-1998, acting dean, 1999.
12. Stephen McAllister, 2000-2005.
13. Gail B. Agrawal, 2006-


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