From the 2008 News Archive
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Dean Karen Rothenberg to Step Down at End of Academic Year

Karen H. Rothenberg, JD, who has led the University of Maryland School of Law to national prominence, announced today that she will step down from her position as dean on June 30, 2009. Rothenberg, 55, has led the law school for nearly a decade, and is the first woman to serve as the dean of the school in its 185-year history. After a sabbatical, Rothenberg plans to return to the faculty.

"I am so grateful to the community of people—faculty, administrators, staff, and our graduates and friends—who have all helped to make this such a wonderful law school," says Rothenberg. "I love this place and the people that make it so great. I am very proud of all we have accomplished together and the community we have created that will sustain our work into the future."

David J. Ramsay, DM, DPhil, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, said, "Karen Rothenberg is stepping down from the deanship of the law school at a time when its national reputation for excellence has never been stronger. The entire campus has benefited from her leadership, wisdom, and vision."

"She has built a vibrant philanthropic culture among the alumni," says Henry H. Hopkins, JD ’68, co-chair of the law school’s $50 million Making an Impact fundraising campaign. "She is passionate about legal education, creative, and foresighted in rebuilding the School’s facility and programs. Karen is an indefatigable fundraiser and tireless proponent for the School of Law. She is widely known as someone to whom it is impossible to say no."

Rothenberg guided the School of Law through the final phases of the development, construction, and opening of its state-of-the-art facility in 2002. The building boasts three moot courtrooms, the latest technology, a clinical suite for its expansive public service programs, and an extensive library. However, the law school’s people and programs, rather than its bricks and mortar, have been Rothenberg’s primary focus as dean.

"By sheer force of personality—her vision, enthusiasm, and relentless optimism—Karen has been able to recruit some of the legal academy’s best young minds to the faculty and to draw together an ever-widening circle of friends and supporters for the School of Law," said William E. Kirwan, PhD, chancellor of the University System of Maryland.

A member of the law school faculty since 1983, Rothenberg recognized early on both the importance of interdisciplinary work for solving complex problems of law and public policy, and the unique possibilities for collaboration among all the professional schools on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus.

"Everything we have accomplished, we have accomplished together," said Rothenberg in her announcement to faculty and staff today. "A decade is a wonderful milestone and I believe together, we have brought the law school to a place that will allow the faculty and president to recruit an exceptional leader to take us to the next level."

Rothenberg has fostered the School of Law’s mission to promote a more just society by educating outstanding lawyers, by advancing understanding of law and legal institutions, and by enhancing access to justice. She founded the Law & Health Care Program, which has been ranked consistently among the top three in the country by U.S.News & World Report. She has carried this vision of the School’s public mission into her deanship, creating a variety of initiatives to expand the role of the law school in improving law and society.

Major accomplishments during her deanship include:

• Creating new centers and programs in areas including business law, intellectual property law, international law, and women’s leadership, while sustaining the nationally recognized excellence of the law school’s programs in health law, environmental law, and clinical education.
• Increasing resources for faculty research, launching a program for distinguished visitors, and building support for a wide array of national and international conferences.
• Building international partnerships with academic institutions, government organizations, and the judiciary in South Africa, Chile, England, Germany, Australia, China, and Costa Rica by creating opportunities for student study abroad and faculty exchange.
• Expanding clinical and public service programs, and building partnerships with a host of organizations in Baltimore and beyond so that faculty and students now provide annually more than 110,000 hours of free legal services to the citizens of Maryland.
• Increasing financial resources to support students including the Leadership Scholars program awarding nearly $2 million annually, Deans Awards for returning students, public interest grants for summer work, and loan repayment for graduates.
• Successfully completing the School of Law’s first significant capital campaign raising the funds to build its new building, and launching the law school’s current Making an Impact Campaign with more than 54 percent of the $50 million goal raised to date.
• Increasing the size of the law school endowment by nearly 70 percent from $29 million in 1999 to $49 million today.


Posted June 25, 2008 by James Smith

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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved