Meet The First Black Dean of the Oldest Law School In The U.S.
Career Education

Meet The First Black Dean of the Oldest Law School In The U.S.

A. Benjamin Spender
(Image: @wmlawschool/ Instagram)

The Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary based in Williamsburg, Virginia, is home to the oldest law school in the country and a part of the second oldest college and the first university to open in the United States.

The legendary school has made history again, electing its first African American dean.

The school announced the appointment of A. Benjamin Spencer to dean at the university. Spencer was already working as an accomplished civil procedure and federal courts expert with great experience in higher education. Prior to his new role, Spencer worked as the director of the Francis Lewis Law Center and as the associate dean of research at Washington and Lee University. He also served as a captain in U.S Army Reserve and argues appeals on behalf of the army.

Because of Them We Can reported that President Katherine A. Rowe spoke on Spencer’s appointment, saying, “William & Mary is thrilled to welcome Ben Spencer as our next dean of the law school. Since the beginning of the search process we sought a leader who values all three aspects of the law: the academy, the bar, and the bench. Ben brings that broad view of legal practice, together with a deep appreciation of the ethos of the citizen lawyer that has inspired the oldest law school in the country since its founding.”

Spencer said he is excited about the new role. “It was not until the hiring committee from William & Mary approached me back in 2003 that I gave any thought to becoming a law professor,” he said.

“I am tremendously excited that after all these years, I am finally able to join this wonderful community of impactful scholars. I am particularly enthusiastic about the university’s commitment to a whole-person, whole-university approach to learning and its commitment to understanding and meeting the most pressing needs of our time.”


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