Three Black Women Appointed Deans of University Law Schools

Marcilynn Burke has been appointed dean of the School of Law at Tulane University in New Orleans. She currently serves as the Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law and dean of the University of Oregon School of Law. Earlier in her career, she held academic and leadership positions with the University of Houston Law Center.

Burke is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she majored in international studies. She holds a juris doctorate from Yale Law School.

LaVonda Reed has been named the first woman dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law. She currently serves as dean of the College of Law at Georgia State University. Previously, she served as a professor of law and associate provost for faculty affairs at Syracuse University.

Reed holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and a juris doctorate from the University of Southern California.

Franita Tolson has been named the first Black dean of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. Her deanship includes an appointment as the Carl Mason Franklin Chair in Law. She previously served as the school’s vice dean for faculty and academic affairs for three years and has been a professor with the university since 2017. She is the co-author of the sixth edition of The Law of Democracy (Foundation Press, 2022).

Tolson holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, and a juris doctorate from the University of Chicago.

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