Dean Tobin delivers final State of the School address

Watch the State of the School recording on YouTube

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Dean Donald B. Tobin, who will step down at the end of this academic year, delivered his final Maryland Carey Law State of the School address on Friday, April 8.

In attendance in the law school’s stately Ceremonial Moot Courtroom were alumni, faculty, staff, students, and members of the legal community; as well as University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Bruce Jarrell and other senior UMB leaders.

Howard Kurman ’75, co-founder of Offit Kurman and chair of the Maryland Carey Law Board of Visitors, introduced the dean, praising Tobin’s leadership over the past eight years and particularly during the pandemic.

“Our reputation is stronger than ever,” said Kurman. “The quality of students and faculty we are attracting is at an all-time high. And Maryland Carey Law alumni have never been more connected and motivated to engage with students and each other.”

In his address, Tobin reflected on the law school’s achievements during his tenure around his priorities of supporting innovative scholarship, expanding opportunities for students, and building on the culture of community engagement demonstrated by the school’s renowned Clinical Law Program.

“This culture, exemplified by alumni like the Honorable Elijah Cummings—that views the law as a tool for lifting up others—clearly distinguishes this law school,” said Tobin, “I loved that vision, and as dean, I embraced that vision and sought to build on the school’s strengths.”

Additionally, he outlined fiscal and philanthropic efforts, which resulted in a balanced budget, a doubling of the school’s endowment, and a significant increase in scholarship spending.

Interspersed videos provided testimonials from faculty, alumni, students, and community members on the law school’s growth and progress during the dean’s tenure.

Brandon Wharton ’21 described the benefits of participating in the Diversity and Inclusion Scholars initiative, which provided him with financial and career support. During law school, Wharton became Maryland Carey Law’s first Black editor-in-chief of the Maryland Law Review.

Professor Maureen Sweeney detailed the expansion of direct representation and advocacy work enabled by the opening of the Chacón Center for Immigrant Justice in 2021.

Another video featured faculty members introducing viewers to their groundbreaking scholarship in areas ranging from abolition feminism to race and national security. The final video explored ways in which Tobin has contributed to building community both in and outside the law school. 

“To Dean Tobin, thank you not just for strengthening our law school,” said Sen. Ben Cardin ’67, “but thank you for strengthening our community.”

Tobin concluded the address by expressing optimism about the law school’s future and gratitude for the “work, dedication, and care within this extraordinary community,” adding, “I am surrounded by people who recognize that it is our solemn obligation as a law school to use our strengths and advantages as lawyers to improve lives and to lift up others.”

Tobin will end his tenure as dean this summer but will remain on the Maryland Carey Law faculty. Learn more about his deanship here.

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