Penn State and Dickinson College begin discussions on law school affiliation

September 17, 2004

University Park, Pa. - Officials from Penn State University and Dickinson College today announced that the two institutions have begun preliminary discussions about a possible change of affiliation of Penn State's Dickinson School of Law to Dickinson College.

The Dickinson School of Law of The Pennsylvania State University is contiguous with Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. The Dickinson School of Law opened in 1890 with some affiliation with Dickinson College, but became a fully independent law school in 1914. In 1997 it became affiliated with Penn State.

Penn State recently proposed the establishment of a second campus of the Dickinson School of Law on the University Park campus of Penn State to help establish more interdisciplinary and joint degree options for students. The terms of the merger agreement required concurrence for the move by the board of governors of the law school. The board of governors declined to act on this proposal at their most recent board meeting.

Affiliating the law school with Dickinson College would facilitate interdisciplinary connections for students while maintaining their programs in Carlisle, which has been an issue of great concern to the local community and many members of the board of governors, and would provide Dickinson College students with access to opportunities within the law school. The Dickinson School of Law and Dickinson College also would benefit from sharing certain infrastructure and support services because of the contiguous location of their campuses.

Any agreement between Penn State and Dickinson College also would require the support of the law school's board of governors. After the merger with Penn State, the board of governors retained control over the name and location of the law school. All operations of the law school are under the control of Penn State, which has made significant investments in school since the merger. The law school itself is self-supporting, but recent discussions about the need for improved facilities led Governor Edward Rendell to commit up to $25 million in state matching funds for renovations to the law school building if it remains in Carlisle. A private fundraising drive is being contemplated by law school alumni to support the capital improvements.

Officials at both Penn State and Dickinson College stressed that discussions are in the preliminary stages and no time-line had been established for negotiations. Both institutions look forward to a productive conversation.

(Media Contacts)

Steve MacCarthy

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Last Updated March 19, 2009