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Gus Speth ’64 LAW ’69, dean of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies — who announced last June he would step down at the end of the academic year — will join the Vermont Law School faculty on July 1, 2010, VLS officials announced Thursday.

Speth, who has served as dean since 1999, sent faculty and students at the environment school an e-mail Tuesday afternoon, announcing his plans and expressing his gratitude for a rewarding decade of work with faculty and students of the school.

“After ten wonderful years at Yale, an opportunity for which I shall be forever grateful, I’m extremely happy to report that I’ll be joining the faculty of the Vermont Law School,” Speth wrote in his e-mail.

A committee has been searching for Speth’s replacement for nearly nine months, and presented a final list of candidates to Levin in December. Speth’s successor will be named in the next few weeks, F&ES Communications Director David DeFusco said, though he did not have specifics on the announcement’s precise timing.

DeFusco — who learned of Speth’s new position at the same time as the rest of the school — and F&ES Deputy Dean Alan Brewster both said they were not surprised by the announcement.

“The Vermont Law School is known for churning out people in the environmental law field; they’re very good,” Brewster said in an interview with the News. “The dean himself is a lawyer, so it’s a logical place for him to go.”

He said Speth and VLS also have a history of working together, thanks to a joint four-year program between VLS and the environment school that allows students to obtain both a master’s degree in environmental management and a JD degree.

In a statement, VLS President and Dean Jeff shields said he is looking forward to welcoming Speth on board.

“Gus has been an extraordinary teacher, scholar and leader on environmental matters for 40 years,” Shields said. “He will be extraordinarily valuable to Vermont Law School as we work to further strengthen both our policy work and our academic program to assure that we remain top-ranked in the nation.”

Prior to assuming the F&ES deanship in 1999, Speth served as administrator of the United Nations Development Programme for six years. Over the course of his career he has also taught law at Georgetown University, held the position of chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality and worked as a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.