Tuesday, August 9, 2022

William & Mary names first black dean to run its law school

A. Benjamin Spencer, a nationally renowned civil procedure and federal courts expert and current professor of law at the University of Virginia will begin at William & Mary Law School July 1. (WYDaily/Courtesy of W&M)
A. Benjamin Spencer, a nationally renowned civil procedure and federal courts expert and current professor of law at the University of Virginia will begin at William & Mary Law School July 1. (WYDaily/Courtesy of W&M)

William & Mary says it has named the first African American dean to run its law school.

University officials said in a statement Monday the new dean will be A. Benjamin Spencer.

“William & Mary is thrilled to welcome Ben Spencer as our next dean of the law school,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “Since the beginning of the search process we sought a leader who values all three aspects of the law: the academy, the bar and the bench. Ben brings that broad view of legal practice, together with a deep appreciation of the ethos of the citizen lawyer that has inspired the oldest law school in the country since its founding. I would like to take this moment also to express W&M’s heartfelt gratitude to Dave Douglas. This university is better for his leadership in so many ways. On a personal level, his friendship and partnership these last two years have been a gift.”

Spencer is a nationally renowned expert on civil procedure and federal courts. He is currently a law professor at the University of Virginia, according to the statement.

William & Mary says that Spencer is the first African-American dean of any school at the university. Its roots stretch back to the 1600s.

Spencer, a Hampton native, will start on July 1. Current law school dean Davison M. Douglas will return to the faculty. He served as dean for more than 10 years.

“I am delighted with the selection of Ben Spencer as the next dean of William & Mary Law school,” Douglas said. “He is a marvelous leader and is the right person to help the law school continue its forward momentum. We warmly welcome Ben to the William & Mary community and the nation’s oldest law school.”

Spencer graduated from Harvard Law School and was a member of the Harvard Law Review. He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice policy from the London School of Economics. He got his bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College.

John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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