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UF Law’s Laura Rosenbury named president of Barnard College

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Laura Rosenbury

Laura A. Rosenbury

The Board of Trustees at Barnard College in New York City have elected Laura A. Rosenbury, currently the dean at University of Florida Levin College of Law, to assume the role of president of Barnard College effective July 1.

Rosenbury will be the institution’s ninth president in its 134-year history.

A leading women and gender legal theorist with expertise that spans reproductive rights, children’s rights, and sexual harassment, President-elect Rosenbury, 53, was the first woman to hold the permanent position as dean at UF Law. Rosenbury will succeed Dr. Sian Beilock, who will go on to become the first woman president of Dartmouth College after leading Barnard College since 2017.

“It’s an honor to be named Barnard College’s next president, and I look forward to carrying forth its legacy as the leading academic institution for the advancement of women,” Rosenbury said in a statement released by the college. “It was immediately clear how committed and close-knit the Barnard community is, and I’m deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees and Search Committee for entrusting me to continue Barnard’s undeniable trajectory as a global frontrunner in preparing women to make their mark on the world.”

(Rosenbury recently appeared on The Florida Bar Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism podcast, “Never Contemplated: The Making of a Good Lawyer.” Judge Hetal Desai talks to Rosenbury about her journey from rural America to Harvard to Florida.)

Rosenbury said higher education is where she learned to see and understand the world in a new way, and was given the space to identify where her passions lie.

“It’s incredibly special to be joining a community devoted specifically to helping the next generation of women do the same,” Rosenbury said.

“We believe we found the most outstanding candidate to become the ninth president of Barnard College,” said Cheryl Milstein, chair of Barnard’s Board of Trustees. “Laura’s appointment is a culmination of a life and career dedicated to empowering women. She is a committed leader and scholar whose values and passions align with Barnard’s mission. Every step on her journey – from an undergraduate education steeped in humanities, arts and sciences, to a law career focused on advocating for women and families, to her leadership as a professor and dean dedicated to expanding opportunities for all students – has prepared her uniquely for this institution. Our students will have the incredible privilege of being led and inspired by her.”

President of Columbia University, Lee C. Bollinger added: “I am delighted to congratulate Laura Rosenbury on her appointment as President of Barnard. She is an experienced and successful university administrator and a wise and established legal scholar who has published extensively on issues of employment discrimination, children’s rights, and feminist jurisprudence, and I am confident she will be an excellent leader for Barnard. I wish President-elect Rosenbury all the very best in this exciting new chapter.”

Rosenbury was named dean of UF Law in 2015 with the charge of raising its national and international profile. She spearheaded a strategy that led to record levels of private donations, a 200% increase in applications, and the enrollment of seven of the most accomplished and diverse classes in the law school’s history, propelling the school into the top 25 law schools in the nation, according to Barnard College.  Under her leadership, UF Law jumped 27 spots in the U.S. News law school rankings, rising from #48 to #21 among all law schools and from #24 to #6 among public law schools.

Rosenbury earned a law degree in 1997 from Harvard Law School, where she was primary editor for the Harvard Law Review. She earned a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies in 1992 from Harvard-Radcliffe College.

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