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12.23.2009

UC Hastings names Frank H. Wu as Chancellor and Dean

Big news... Yesterday, the Board of Directors of UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco announced that after a nationwide search, it has selected Frank H. Wu as the school's new Chancellor and Dean: Hastings picks civil rights scholar as new dean.

Wu is Professor of Law at Howard University and the former dean at Wayne State University Law School, where he was the nation's youngest law school Dean. He will step up as dean of UC Hastings next July. Here's the press release from the school:

UC Hastings Names Frank H. Wu New Chancellor and Dean

Bold Step Marks New Generation of Leadership at Top California Law School

SAN FRANCISCO, December 22, 2009 - The Board of Directors of UC Hastings College of the Law announced today its new Chancellor and Dean, Frank H. Wu, Professor of Law at Howard University and the former dean at Wayne State University Law School, where he was the nation's youngest law school Dean. The selection of Wu, who is closely connected to high-level legal, business and political leadership in the Asian and Asian-American world, is viewed as a dramatic and bold step to bring an entirely new level of leadership to Hastings.

"Frank Wu is a brilliant, world-class scholar and national leader in higher education. He was selected because of his powerful strategic vision for raising our 131-year-old law school to a new level. He has the experience and commitment to develop unprecedented private support for the College," said Bruce Simon, Chair of the Board of Directors of Hastings and co-chair of the Dean Selection Committee, along with Professor Richard Boswell. "With today's significant fiscal challenges, UC Hastings needs dynamic, top-flight leadership fully engaged in the legal and greater community at large."

Chancellor and Dean-designate Wu, 42, was selected following an extensive and careful search among highly-qualified candidates. All of the final candidates visited the campus for two-day interviews with faculty, students, staff, and alumni. The Dean Search Committee, comprised of four board members and three faculty members, took into account opinions from a wide variety of sources. The Board was assisted in the search and selection process by the firm of Major, Lindsey & Africa.

Chancellor and Dean-designate Wu provided a compelling vision for UC Hastings, including a concrete three-point plan to build on the school's historical strength in scholarship and education. Wu said: "This is an exciting and extraordinary opportunity to elevate UC Hastings even higher on the national scene, and I am deeply honored and privileged to bring my experience and skills to bear on this challenge." Wu emphasized that higher education must prepare students for their careers by giving them the skills needed to succeed; that the lawyers and the leaders of today and the future must be ready to work within a global economy with a Pacific Rim emphasis; and students must be able to blend their technical abilities in analyzing doctrine with the strengths of other disciplines.

Wu called special attention to the need to increase private support to ensure talented students continue to have meaningful access to a quality legal education, and toward that end he intends to begin the first-ever capital campaign for UC Hastings. He is forming a transition team to advise him, ensuring all stakeholders are able to participate in implementing these ideas.

"There is no question Frank Wu's positive fund-raising experience at Wayne State and throughout his entire academic and legal career was a critical factor in our decision," Board Chair Simon emphasized. "He has the skills, energy and vision to make it happen." Acting Chancellor and Dean Leo Martinez added: "A figure of his stature and national presence is a huge win for UC Hastings. This spells success on a new scale."

Chancellor and Dean-designate Wu's biographical background is extensive and distinguished.. He is currently a member of the law faculty at Howard University, among the nation's leading historically black colleges and universities. He also has taught as a full-time Visiting Professor at the law schools of Peking University, University of Maryland, George Washington University, and University of Michigan, in addition to having taught undergraduates at Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, and Deep Springs College.

Wu is nationally known for his leadership in higher education and human rights. He returned to his hometown of Detroit to be Dean at Wayne State. His extensive service also includes his role as a Trustee of Gallaudet University, the only institution of higher education in the world serving people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and Vice-Chairman of their Board since 2006. Last week, Wu was appointed to the U.S. Department of Education's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), a high-level advisory body on accreditation. In 2009, he was appointed to the Congressionally-mandated Military Leadership Diversity Commission, and he joined the Board of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund in 2004. Chancellor and Dean-designate Wu was appointed by Mayor Anthony Williams as Chair of the D.C. Human Rights Commission for 2001-02, and by the D.C. Court of Appeals to its Board on Professional Responsibility, which adjudicates attorney discipline matters. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and he has been recognized for his work with the 2008 Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award from the Asian Pacific Fund, named for the late Chancellor of University of California at Berkeley and selected from a national pool of nominees, and the 2007 Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

Chancellor and Dean-Designate Wu is the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, which was immediately reprinted in its hardcover edition, and co-author of Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese American Internment, which received major grants from the federal and California Civil Liberties Public Education Funds. Prior to his academic career, Chancellor and Dean-Designate Wu held a clerkship with the late U..S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti in Cleveland, and he then practiced law with the firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, devoting a quarter of his time to pro bono representation. He received a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He has completed the Management Development Program of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is married to Carol L. Izumi, a distinguished legal scholar and law professor.

Chancellor and Dean-designate Wu will assume his new position on July 1, 2010, and will have a salary of $350,000. He has already announced his intention to demonstrate his commitment to UC Hastings by donating $25,000 of his salary every year to the College for scholarships and academic support. He hopes that his example will encourage greater philanthropy among Hastings' alumni community.

Since the departure of former Chancellor and Dean Nell Newton in the summer 2009, UC Hastings Professor Leo Martinez has served as Acting Chancellor and Dean. "During the interim period, Leo Martinez has been providing Hastings with inspired leadership - applying his trademark cool, level-headed and thoughtful judgment, but also jumping with enthusiasm to grapple with every imaginable challenge in running UC Hastings. We are hugely fortunate in having Professor Martinez at the helm at this critical time," said Don Bradley, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.

Hastings College of the Law was founded in 1878 as the first law department of the University of California, and today is one of the top-rated law schools in the United States. Its alumni span the globe and are among the most respected lawyers, judges and business leaders today.
You might recognize Frank H. Wu's name as the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, a book I have to admit I've never actually read, though it's sitting right there on my bookshelf. Nevertheless, this is fantastic news for UC Hastings. Congratulations to Professor Wu.