Notre Dame University has tapped longtime Stanford law professor G. Marcus Cole as its next dean.
Cole will assume the deanship July 1, succeeding outgoing Dean Nell Jessup Newton, who has led the South Bend, Indiana, law school since 2009. He will be the school’s first non-white dean—he is African-American—further bolstering a trend of more women and minorities among the law dean ranks.
Provost Thomas Burish said Cole displayed a “deep commitment” to the law school’s mission and values during the search process, and that his teaching, scholarship and leadership are extraordinary.
“Search committee members were uniformly impressed with his reputation for collegiality, as well as his global experience and involvement on issues ranging from social justice and equality to providing educational access for low-income children,” Burish said in an announcement of the appointment.
Cole joined the Stanford Law School faculty in 1997, where he spent five years as associate dean for curriculum and academic affairs. He teaches contracts, banking regulation, bankruptcy and venture capital. He scholarship centers on how poor communities around the world use technology to overcome local restrictions in order to solve societal problems. Cole has ties to several conservative think tanks, having served as a national fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is currently on the editorial board of the Cato Supreme Court Review.
“To me, law is the noblest profession in the world,” Cole said in a prepared statement. “Lawyers save lives, protect rights and grease the wheels of the economy. It has been the great honor of my life to train lawyers, and I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to help do so at one of the most important law schools in the world. As the needs of our society call for ethically and morally guided lawyers and leaders, Notre Dame will continue to answer that call.”
Cole, who could not be reached Friday, graduated from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 1993 then clerked for Judge Morris Sheppard Arnold of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He spent three years as an associate at Mayer Brown before moving into the legal academy. He has been a visiting professor at numerous law school in the U.S. and internationally, including Northwestern and the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.