Richard Revesz announced that he will step down from his position as dean of NYU School of Law on May 31, 2013, the end of the current academic year. For almost two years, Revesz has been spearheading one of the University’s new signature initiatives to create an interdisciplinary institute on cities and the urban environment, which he will continue to move forward after he steps down as dean. He will remain a tenured member of the law school faculty, as Lawrence King Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, and will continue to teach and to serve as faculty director of the Law School’s Institute for Policy Integrity. Revesz joined the faculty in 1985, and became dean in June 2002.
In informing the NYU community of Revesz’s plans, NYU President John Sexton (Revesz’s predecessor as Law School dean) and Provost David McLaughlin stated, "It is difficult to capture fully the extraordinary accomplishments of Ricky’s tenure, a period of advancement that has seen the Law School strengthened across many significant dimensions." Below is a the text of a memorandum sent by Revesz to members of the Law School Community, followed by a link to Sexton's and McLaughlin's announcement.
To: School of Law Community
From: Dean Richard Revesz
Date: October 24, 2012
I am writing to let you know that I have decided to step down from my position as Dean of New York University School of Law at the end of the current academic year, on May 31, 2013. After more than 10 years in this position, I make this announcement with mixed emotions. Leading this amazing community has been an enormous privilege, an experience that has been rewarding beyond measure. I am deeply proud of all that we have accomplished together, and confident that the Law School will continue to flourish under new leadership.
When NYU President John Sexton passed the baton to me, he was undoubtedly the finest law school dean in recent history, having overseen an unprecedented rise in the quality of the school, a steep trajectory that was unique among law schools. It was a daunting challenge to follow in his footsteps, but I was inspired by what I knew the Law School could yet achieve. I believed then, and am even more certain today, that this is the most exciting and dynamic place in the world to teach and study law. I have now been on the faculty for half of my life—27 years—and the qualities that drew me here continue to animate this extraordinary institution: the School’s entrepreneurial, optimistic spirit that drives it to envision bold new approaches and to lead the way in addressing critical challenges; the commitment to inclusiveness that led it to admit women more than half a century before our peer schools and continues to inspire it to provide opportunities for those groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession; and the commitment to scholarship that is both rigorous and relevant, clinical education that is unparalleled in its breadth, depth, and impact, and an intellectual climate that is vibrant, open and respectful. We have built upon those core values over the past ten years, and I am endlessly grateful to the many people who throughout my deanship have served as trusted colleagues, helpful guides, and faithful champions. To give proper thanks to all those to whom I owe appreciation would not be practical today (though I hope to do it eventually), but let me highlight a few of the ways in which this group has worked together to make the Law School ever better.
During my tenure, we have increased the size of the full time faculty from 83 to 110, expanding the breadth and depth of its scholarly interests, and adding to its diversity. We now have the leading faculty groups in a wide range of legal areas, which enables us to offer our students an extraordinary variety of specialized courses, clinics, and opportunities for directed research and interdisciplinary learning and, most importantly, gives students a chance to work alongside faculty members as colleagues.
We have made many changes to provide our students with the very best curriculum, from the introduction of electives that allow for greater specialization and the Legislation and Regulatory State course in the 1L year, to the series of deals courses created by our Mitchell Jacobson Leadership Program in Law and Business and co-taught with the Stern School of Business. We have added significantly to the range of opportunities we provide our students to do professional work during law school, creating 19 new clinics and 12 new centers and institutes that enable faculty members, students, and professionals to work together on salient legal issues with important public policy implications. Just last week, we announced our new semester study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Paris, and Shanghai for 3L students interested in global legal practice. We also developed a new “Legislative, Administrative, and Governmental Lawyering Clinic” in Washington D.C. for 3L students as part of a program of intensive study and practical training in the role of government—relevant to both private and public career paths.
Never content to rest on our laurels, we have solidified our commitment to public interest law by institutionalizing our funding for public interest summer jobs, significantly expanding our LRAP program and creating the Frank J. Guarini Leaders in Government Service Institute for students interested in government work, and doubling the size of our Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship Program to return it to its original strength. We have introduced a number of programs to increase the opportunities we provide students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and expanded the AnBryce Scholarship Program from one student per class to 10 per class.
To provide suitable homes for all these new endeavors, we completed Furman Hall and renovated Vanderbilt Hall. More recently, we opened 22 Washington Square North and Wilf Hall, and I’m very proud about the LEED Silver and Platinum certification of these two buildings. These additions, and our two residence halls—D’Agostino and Mercer—give us an incomparable campus in the heart of Greenwich Village.
All of these initiatives have required resources, and over the past 10 years we have raised a record-breaking $520 million, and more than doubled the size of our NYU Law Fund in order to secure the Law School’s success far into the future. Our loyal, dedicated, and generous donors have made it possible for us to compete effectively with institutions with a broader resource base.
None of this progress would have been possible but for my amazing colleagues on the faculty, who have been incredible partners throughout my deanship. They have been the architects of many of our most innovative programs, and their intellectual firepower fueled our aspirations. Similarly, none of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts of the extraordinarily talented and dedicated members of the Law School’s administration and staff. They have consistently gone the extra mile to get the job done better, to find the more creative solution, and to add a personal touch; they make the education we provide, the services we offer, and the environment we share the very best it can be. Our alumni not only contribute their time and talents as mentors to our students and participants in our intellectual life, but also are a constant source of new ideas, inspiration and leadership, and have been incredibly generous in providing the resources needed to improve the Law School. I am especially grateful to the members of the Law School’s Board of Trustees, who have supported me throughout my deanship, and have been vigilant stewards of the Law School’s resources, and visionary guardians of its future. And most crucial of all to the endeavor are our students, whose extraordinary talents, energy, and commitment make being part of the Law School community such a privilege, and also assure us that there will be leaders with the intelligence, initiative and integrity needed to address the challenges of the 21st century.
I have been graced by your friendship and support, and hope to personally thank all of the people who have left an indelible impression on the Law School, and on my own life. No one deserves more thanks than my wife, Vicki Been, and my children, Joshua and Sarah. I could never have done this without their patience and encouragement.
As for my next steps, almost two years ago, I was asked to spearhead a University initiative to create a new interdisciplinary institute on cities and the urban environment. I will continue those efforts and also look forward to being able to devote more time to teaching and scholarship at the Law School.
Of course, there is still much to do in the remaining months, and I will do everything I can to make the transition to new leadership as smooth as possible. I am exceedingly proud of what we have accomplished together over the past ten-and-a-half years, and very optimistic about all that lies ahead for NYU School of Law.