[CUA Office of Public Affairs]

May 17, 2001


CUA President Announces New Dean for Columbus School of Law


The Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., President of The Catholic University of America, has announced the appointment of Douglas W. Kmiec as dean and St. Thomas More Professor of Law of the university's Columbus School of Law, effective Aug. 1, 2001.

One of the nation's leading experts in constitutional law, Professor Kmiec has held the Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University School of Law since 1999. Before that, he taught constitutional law at the University of Notre Dame for nearly two decades and directed Notre Dame's Center on Law and Government.

From 1985 to 1989, Professor Kmiec served in the Reagan and Bush administrations as head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice, a position held by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia prior to their appointments to the Supreme Court.

In announcing the appointment, Father O'Connell praised Professor Kmiec's distinguished career in legal education and scholarship as well as in public service. "It is rare to find such a marvelous combination of scholarly productivity and professional legal experience in a single individual. Professor Kmiec is deeply respected by his peers within the legal community, including those whose perspective may differ from his own. His insights, expertise and government service have earned him an outstanding reputation that will certainly contribute to his success as dean of the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America. He is uncommonly articulate about how a law school can be both authentically Catholic and of the highest academic quality."

In considering this appointment, Professor Kmiec wrote to the Search Committee that he believes "the dean's voice in any law school must be one of consistency, encouragement and high professional standard, allowing both students and the larger legal and academic community to see and experience the many-faceted talents of a diverse faculty. At Catholic, we have the special opportunity to combine the gift of faith with the work of reason in a pre-eminently vital location." Following his interview with the members of the law school faculty, one professor noted that Professor Kmiec "has the capacity to take us to new heights." Another faculty member referred to him as "inspiring."

Professor Kmiec is the author of numerous books on the American constitution and related subjects, as well as book chapters and articles published in leading legal and academic journals. He is frequently sought out for legal commentary on national television and radio programs such as "Nightline," the "Newshour" and National Public Radio, and his legal analyses frequently appear in the Washington Post, the National Law Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has been the recipient of many awards for scholarship and public service.

Founded in 1897, Catholic University's law school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. The Columbus School of Law is distinguished as a pioneer in clinical legal education, offering one of the nation's broadest ranges of clinical experiences to students. Additionally, the law school is widely recognized for special programs in communications law, law and public policy, law and religion, and comparative and international law.

For more information, contact Victor Nakas in the Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600.





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Revised: May 17, 2001

All contents copyright 2001.
The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.