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.