Anthony Varona will become dean of the University of Miami School of Law on Aug.1. Courtesy photo. Anthony Varona will become dean of the University of Miami School of Law on Aug.1. Courtesy photo.

The University of Miami School of Law will soon welcome a new face into the dean’s office.

University officials on June 11 announced that Anthony Eudelio Varona is their pick to replace Patricia White, who recently retired from the law school after 10 years at its helm. Varona has taught at American University Washington College of Law since 2005, where he has done stints as vice dean and associate dean for faculty and academic affairs. He will assume the deanship on Aug. 1.

“Tony is a consummate and respected professional in the area of law, and is immersed in critical issues impacting our country and culture,” said Jeffrey Duerk, provost executive vice president for academic affairs. “His insightful and innovative approach to educating the next generation of lawyers will have a profound impact on the school of law, and in courtrooms, industry, and firms across the country.”

Miami’s choice of Varona also reflects the diversity of the law school, where minorities comprised nearly half the student body in 2018. (Hispanics make up the bulk of the school’s minority students, according to data from the American Bar Association.)

Varona was born in Cuba and left at the age of 3 with his mother and maternal grandparents, spending several months in Spain awaiting his father’s own exile from Cuba. They settled together in Newark in 1970. But he has family ties in South Florida, where he and his husband own a second home.

“I am thrilled and deeply honored to be joining the University of Miami School of Law community, and look forward to immersing myself in Miami Law’s tremendously vibrant, culturally rich environment,” Varona said in the announcement of his appointment. “We—our faculty, staff, students, and alumni—have an extraordinary opportunity to grow together and make our law school among the very best in the country.”

He said in an email message that as dean he aims to spread the word about the exciting things the law school is doing and expand its interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial initiatives. Additionally, Varona said he plans to ensure “that the Miami Law community helps lead the legal profession and legal education itself into the future of law and lawyering.”

Varona teaches in the areas of contacts, administrative law, communications and media law, and sexuality and gender law. He is also active in the LGBTQ rights community, having spent nearly five years in legal positions with the Human Rights Campaign. That organization is the largest in the country devoted to protecting the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. At American, Varona is an adviser to the Lambda Law Society as well as the Latino/a Law Students Association.

Varona began his teaching career at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2002 after his work at the Human Rights Campaign. Prior to that, he was an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom as well as Mintz Levin.