Dean David W. Leebron Accepts Presidency at Rice University

Dear Graduates and Friends:

When this academic year began, I thought with some confidence that about a year from now I would become Columbia Law School's longest serving dean since Bill Warren. I write with mixed feelings to let you know that I have been appointed President of Rice University effective July 2004. I am excited by this new opportunity, but sad that I will be leaving Columbia, which has been my home for the past 15 years.

We have achieved an enormous amount during these years. Our recruitment of dynamic and accomplished scholars from across the nation (and indeed the world) has been extraordinary, with eight new faculty joining us in the past year alone. Columbia Law's students are genuinely happy to be part of this wonderful enterprise, and continue to apply what they learn here to positions of leadership in all areas of the law and society. Our buildings have been renewed and expanded through a $130 million investment by our graduates and friends.

All of our accomplishments have been possible only because of the depth of faculty engagement, the energetic contributions of administrative deans, a wonderful staff, and a community of graduates and friends who have been actively involved with us in helping achieve the very best that we aspire to.

I am confident, with the depth of leadership on our faculty, and the esteem in which the Law School is held around the nation, that the faculty and President Lee Bollinger will identify an outstanding individual to lead the law school in the important years ahead.

In the half year that remains of my deanship, I plan to continue to do all I can to serve Columbia Law School. I hope that time will bring as well the opportunity to personally thank everyone who has been so critical to our success.

David W. Leebron
Dean of Columbia Law School
and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law