Office of the Provost


May 5, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

It is with deep regret that I have accepted the resignation of Dean Mary Crossley, effective July 1, 2012. Professor Crossley, who has served as Dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law since 2005, wishes to return to her research and teaching. Her decision to step down from the deanship will conclude seven years of successful administrative leadership and service to the School and to the University.

Dean Crossley earned her bachelor's degree in history at the University of Virginia and her Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University.  She began her professional career as a judicial clerk with the Sixth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals and then practiced health care and corporate law as an associate at law firms in San Francisco and Connecticut.  She began her faculty career at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she rose through the ranks from Assistant to Full Professor and served as Associate Academic Dean.  Before joining our faculty as Dean of the School of Law in July 2005, she was the Florida Bar Health Law Section Professor at Florida State University College of Law.

Under Dean Crossley’s leadership, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law developed a strong foundation in long-range strategic planning that has guided decision-making and assessment.  She led the faculty through curricular review and reform which resulted in the revision of the first-year curriculum to make it responsive to changes in the legal profession.  Progress in this area included the addition of courses focused on developing core professional competencies from the beginning of a student’s legal education.   She successfully recruited a number of new faculty, continued to build on the strength of the School’s clinical program through the addition of the Immigration Law Clinic and the Securities Arbitration Clinic, and created the Innovation Practice Institute which engages in local economic development efforts by training law students to advise innovators.

As Dean, she began the Law School’s Washington D.C. initiative to increase employment and alumni outreach as well as to pursue externships for students with government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Under her guidance, the Law School achieved significant progress toward its capital campaign goal, including gifts to support faculty excellence and cutting-edge programming in areas relating to energy, innovation and the life sciences, and support for students pursuing public interest or public service  careers.  She spearheaded the development of a collaborative diversity pipeline program, improved Law School facilities, and taught law classes and published each year while serving as Dean.

It has been my pleasure to work with Dean Crossley, both in her role as dean and in her participation in the activities of our Council of Deans, and I am delighted that she will continue her academic career at the University as Professor in the School of Law. A search committee will be formed in the coming weeks with the intention of identifying Dean Crossley's successor by next spring.


Patricia E. Beeson

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