University of Florida Levin College of Law Dean Robert H. Jerry II has announced his intention to step down as dean, effective June 30, 2014.
Dean Jerry has led the law school since 2003 and plans to stay on as a member of the faculty.
“I hope you agree that our college is stronger today than it has ever been; this has resulted from the dedicated efforts of the outstanding administrative team with which I have been privileged to work, the dedication the faculty has shown to providing a high-quality program for our students, the efforts of a very strong staff, and the seemingly unbounded willingness of our alumni to give both time and financial resources to make us better,” Jerry said.
Dean Jerry became the Levin College of Law’s 15th dean in 2003, and will have led the college for 11 years, which will tie him for service as the second-longest serving law dean since the school was founded in 1909 and one of the longest-serving law deans nationwide.
“Under his thoughtful and inspired leadership, the college has continued to thrive despite tough economic conditions and today’s highly challenging environment for legal education,” said Joseph Glover, UF provost and senior vice president. “Dean Jerry assembled an administrative team that during this 10-year period transformed many of the college’s functions and programs, including admissions, placement, and student services.”
In 2009, Glover said, the college commenced a three-year program that reduced the size of the student body by 25 percent, a transformative change that improved student-faculty ratios, access to the curriculum, and student services, which presaged reductions that occurred in 90 percent of the nation’s law schools in 2011 and 2012.
“A detail-oriented administrator and a favorite with the college’s 22,000-plus alumni, he helped build its private endowment into one of the largest among public law schools in the country,” Glover said. “Annual giving increased during his deanship, exceeded $830,000 in each of the last three years, and set a new record in 2012-13.”
During his tenure, the school’s major reconstruction project that constructed or renovated all of the classrooms and the library was started and completed, and a freestanding legal advocacy center with a new courtroom and advocacy education suite was planned, designed, funded, and constructed.
Five permanent lecture series were created during Jerry’s tenure, bringing top legal leaders to campus, including eight visits from U.S. Supreme Court justices in the past eight years.
“Dean Jerry has been a tireless advocate for students, and he has placed great emphasis on the value of and support for diversity in the law school community,” Glover said. “To help students in a difficult employment market, he created a post-graduate fellowship program, supported expansion of the pre-graduate summer externship program, and initiated a new program to aid students seeking judicial clerkships, which last year enabled UF Law to rank 26th in the nation in the number of graduates obtaining federal judicial clerkships.”