Change atop law, med schools

Two of Yale’s professional schools will be getting new deans in the next year, with School of Medicine Dean David Kessler’s recent departure and Yale Law School Dean Anthony Kronman’s plans to step down in June.

Kessler, whose position is being filled temporarily by former neurosurgery chairman Dennis Spencer, left July 1 to become dean of the University of California at San Francisco’s school of medicine. Kronman, who will return to teaching after a sabbatical, is stepping down because his second term as dean will expire.

As dean, Kessler oversaw the School of Medicine through a major plans for growth, including a $35 million Pfizer clinical research facility, a 25 percent increase in laboratory and clinical space, and over $500 million in investments from the University.

The former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Kessler will arrive at UCSF in the midst of the medical school’s development of a new campus on Mission Bay

UCSF Chancellor J. Michael Bishop said Kessler’s record as a leading national public health advocate and academic figure would help him during UCSF’s campus development project.

“We’re very pleased that Dr. Kessler will be assuming leadership of the UCSF School of Medicine at this significant point in the school’s history,” Bishop said in a press release in June. “He is a distinguished public servant and academic leader, and I believe that his extensive experience in the leadership of both public and private institutions will serve UCSF well.”

Before his 1990 appointment to the FDA, Kessler, 52, served as medical director of the hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. Kessler also holds a law degree and has taught food and drug law at the Columbia University School of Law.

Kessler, despite his time leading the FDA, said he sees his major work as an academic.

“I try to share with young people what it’s like taking on these big challenges,” he said.

Kronman also said his real passion lies in academia, and said he has enjoyed interacting with law students over the past 10 years.

“I have always thought of myself during my deanship as a member of the faculty.” Kronman said.

Kronman will take a year-long sabbatical and then return to teaching in the fall of 2005. His professional work focuses on contracts, bankruptcy, jurisprudence, social theory and professional responsibility.

Yale President Richard Levin said Law School professor Paul Kahn will head a search committee for the new dean. Traditionally, University presidents have chosen Yale Law School faculty members to lead the Law School.

Kronman said he feels honored and privileged to have led Yale Law School.

“There are 10,000 moments and episodes I will remember with incredible fondness,” Kronman said.

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