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January 8, 2001

Hunter 'ends chapter' as
law school dean

By Michael Terrazas

After 11 years at the helm of the School of Law, Dean Woody Hunter has announced he will resign as dean, effective June 30. He does not plan to retire, however, and will remain on the law school faculty.

“I took over [as interim dean] in May 1989 somewhat reluctantly, with the intention to serve only a few months, until a permanent dean could take over,” Hunter said. “One thing led to another, and suddenly it is almost 12 years later. Frankly, I found the job to be both interesting and challenging. I have enjoyed the work.”

Hunter said the school has recently completed development of several projects, including the new Center for the Interdiscipli-nary Study of Religion, and the window was there.

“The planned renovations to Gambrell Hall will be completed this summer, and we made several appointments to the faculty that were important,” he said. “It was a good time to end this chapter.”

“During his tenure, Dean Hunter has accomplished a great deal,” said Provost Rebecca Chopp. “He has presided over phenomenal growth in the law school, enlarging the faculty from 30 to 50, adding five new named professorships, greatly increasing the number of scholarships available to law students, and augmenting the endowment so that the school is in a much stronger position than it was a decade ago. President [Bill] Chace and I thank Dean Hunter for his part in all of these positive changes.”

Asked of which accomplishments he is most proud, Hunter also points to the growth in law faculty but ties it to a reduction in student body, from roughly 740 to 620 students in the school. He also cited the development of academic programs and growth of the curriculum, along with tangible achievements like the Gambrell renovations and the construction of MacMillan Law Library.

“I have really enjoyed meeting and working with large numbers of our alumni all over the country,” Hunter said. “Although I will not miss the hours spent in airport waiting rooms or on taxiways, I will miss the regular visits with the many very interesting and accomplished people who volunteer so much of their time to this institution.

“I also have enjoyed the relationships that have developed over the years with Emory’s academic deans,” he said. “I have learned as much from them and from our two great provosts—Billy Frye and Rebecca Chopp—as I have from anyone. Finally, I will really miss the daily interaction with a wonderful staff.”

Hunter has been on the law faculty since 1976. He earned his bachelor’s in Russian studies from Yale University in 1968 and his law degree from Yale three years later. Before coming to Emory, Hunter spent one year in the Army and several more in private practice in Washington and Atlanta.

Hunter said he will spend 2001–02 on sabbatical, catching up on a number of research projects, and he will also do some teaching at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Meanwhile, Emory will launch another search for a new dean. Hunter advised his success to continue to teach while serving as dean in order “to remain connected to the core purposes of the law school.” He also had two more words of advice: “Be patient.”


Back to Emory Report Jan. 8, 2000