Penn State will address future efforts to boost its law school

August 13, 2004

Carlisle, Pa. -- The Board of Governors of Penn State's Dickinson School of Law today (Aug. 13) failed to accept a proposal to operate two campuses of the law school. The board had set a deadline of Aug. 15 to approve the two-campus plan.

The proposal would have infused millions of dollars of additional operating support for the law school in addition to a new $60 million building at the University Park campus and substantial renovations to Trickett Hall in Carlisle.

The Board of Governors instead recommended exclusive investment in renovations to the existing facilities in Carlisle, with a targeted completion date of August 2008 and with an objective of increasing the amount raised for such renovations.

Penn State will now reassess ways to improve its law school in Carlisle. The University reiterated its commitment of $10 million for facilities enhancements in Carlisle, subject to further review and approval by Penn State's Board of Trustees. This commitment will be incorporated in the five-year capital plan presentation to the trustees at their September meeting.

"Penn State now needs to move forward and develop a new vision and strategic plan for our law school," said University President Graham B. Spanier. "The decision not to accept the two-campus proposal for the law school is disappointing, but we will do our best to move ahead constructively from here."

Penn State affiliated with the Dickinson School of Law on July 1, 1997. In response to the changing demands of legal education, the University recently explored options to enhance the law school.

The most recent proposal was to create a second site at University Park, which would have allowed for more inter-disciplinary studies, increased collaborative scholarly opportunities, and dual major options for law school students. The proposal required the approval of the Board of Governors of the law school, who maintain authority over the school's location.

Since the merger of the Dickinson School of Law with Penn State took place, the institution has improved in many key areas. Applications to the law school have more than doubled since 1998, enrollment has increased by 26 percent, minority enrollment has gone up 200 percent and the operating budget has approximately doubled.

Other increases have been observed in the law school's research expenditures (a 38 percent increase), the endowment has increased 33 percent, and the number of employees has increased 16 percent.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009