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Santa Clara University School of Law has named Donald Polden its new dean. Polden, 54, who most recently served as dean of Tennessee’s University of Memphis School of Law, succeeds Mack Player, who will step down July 1. “They weren’t looking for a dean that would be a repairman or a revolutionary,” said Player, who served as dean for nine years. “The main challenge we face is fund raising and development. We’ve started a capital plan to raise the endowment. He’s going to be coming in on the ground floor with that.” In his old job, Polden faced many of the same challenges he will probably meet at Santa Clara. According to Santa Clara, during his tenure at Memphis, Polden not only increased diversity, but also increased the private support of the law school and its endowment as well. In addition, he taught courses in antitrust and corporate and securities law. “The law school has taken on a $12 million capital campaign,” said Polden. “It’s an important part of what deans do, and it will be an important part of the law school job.” Like most law schools, Santa Clara is attempting to increase its endowment and improve its ability to accommodate a rising tide of law school applicants. In 2002, Santa Clara saw a 25 percent spike in applications, and the school says this year’s applicant pool is even larger. Polden will also handle the school’s plan to reshuffle space and make room for a new business school being built on campus. “It’ll be a musical-chairs operation, reallocation of space within the law school — he’ll have to shepherd that into existence,” said Player. Polden has spent his legal career in other parts of the nation, but he’s expected to adjust easily to his new environment. “The issues that we face in the Bay Area are similar to those other law schools in the country face — financial issues, high tuition, relieving economic burden on students and increasing diversity,” said Jeffrey Brand, dean of the University of San Francisco School of Law. Polden said one of the things he’s proud of is that minority applications tripled during his tenure at Memphis. “We undertook a number of steps at Memphis to increase the number of minority applicants,” he said, “including a national outreach and recruiting process.” Polden earned his J.D. in 1975 from Indiana University School of Law. After graduating, he served as a clerk for U.S. District Chief Judge William Hanson in Iowa. He later became a professor and associate dean of Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. He also served on the Tennessee Supreme Court Commission on ethnic diversity. In addition, Polden published “Corporations and the Law” in the Encyclopedia of the American Judicial System in 1987. He added, “I look forward to building upon the successes of Dean Player and the law school community and to moving the school forward to a greater level of professional recognition and academic achievement and excellence.”

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