Harvard law professor Elena Kagan will become the next dean of the university’s law school on June 30, Harvard President Lawrence Summers announced Thursday. Kagan will become the first woman to lead the Harvard Law School in its 186-year history, joining the ranks of female law school deans at other universities, including Georgetown and Duke.
Kagan will succeed current dean Robert Clark, who announced in November that he would step down from the position after 14 years.
Kagan, who received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton and her law degree from Harvard, began teaching at Harvard in 1999. Before she returned to Cambridge, Kagan served as Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council under former U.S. President Bill Clinton LAW ’73. Kagan also served as a law professor at the University of Chicago and as a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Summers said in a press release that he is confident in Kagan’s ability to advance the law school’s educational and leadership goals.
“Elena Kagan is an imaginative scholar, a gifted teacher, a public-spirited lawyer, and an energetic leader admired for her sound judgment and her capacity to inspire trust,” Summers said. “She enjoys broad respect among her colleagues and students, and she combines exceptional intelligence with a remarkable ability to bring people together around issues of academic and institutional importance.”
Kagan said she looks forward to building upon the law school’s already strong foundation.
“In a new century, and in a time of change and challenge for lawyers around the world, Harvard once again has the opportunity to define excellence in legal education,” Kagan said in a press release. “I can’t wait to start.”
— Lindsey Mergener