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Oct. 26, 2023

MSU College of Law’s inaugural dean stepping down

Linda Greene to return to faculty after years of celebrated achievement

Linda Greene, who has led the College of Law since June 2021 and oversaw the college’s full integration into Michigan State University, will step down as dean at the end of the calendar year and remain as faculty to focus on scholarship and an upcoming book on Thurgood Marshall.

Linda Greene, wearing a blue blazer with a white necklace
Linda Greene

Greene became the inaugural dean for the College of Law after it fully integrated into MSU in 2020. She led the college through a critical time in its history, and she leaves excited about its future.

“As the inaugural dean following the college’s full integration into the university, Dean Greene played a central role in articulating a vision for the college that embodied what it means to be a constituent college within a land-grant university,” said MSU Interim Provost Thomas Jeitschko. “She achieved this while remaining mindful of the longstanding and storied history of the Detroit College of Law and building upon its history and foundational integrity.”

Greene leaves a lasting impact on the College of Law, particularly in the college’s strategic plan. Her vision that the College of Law become Michigan’s preeminent law school in producing diverse lawyers who serve diverse communities in Michigan and beyond has become integral to its strategic plan and the long-term goals of the college.

Notably, the College of Law successfully completed the American Bar Association’s accreditation review during Greene’s tenure as dean and the college’s membership was renewed by the American Association of Law Schools. 

“I thank Dean Linda Greene for her service as the inaugural dean of the MSU College of Law,” said MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “Her guidance helped lead the college through accreditation and a strategic plan process. That work and Linda’s focus on community outreach and engagement has been instrumental in our success today and for our collective future.”

Through her leadership, the outreach, engagement and impact of MSU and the College of Law has expanded by becoming connected with law communities locally and statewide.

Greene also led the effort to enroll a more inclusive student body. The College of Law’s incoming classes of fall 2022 and 2023 were the most highly credentialed in the history of the law college and the most diverse in 25 years; the 2023 entering class represented students from 32 states and Washington, D.C., including many first-generation college students who will become their families’ first lawyers. To reach more prospective students and future lawyers, Greene launched a pathway program to light the path to law school for college and high school students. 

“Dean Greene significantly enhanced the presence and profile of MSU Law with the bench and bar in Michigan,” said Frank Aiello, chief of staff to the dean of the College of Law. “Her advocacy and program development to create a more inclusive pipeline to law school will have a concrete impact on the great need to diversify the legal profession.”

As dean, Greene recruited accomplished and nationally renowned scholars to speak in her Dean’s Speakers Programs that garnered national attention for the college. Greene also served as the MSU Ethics Initiative’s decanal leader. She recently was appointed by the American Bar Association commission on policing.

Before coming to the MSU College of Law, Greene was Evjue Bascom Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, associate vice chancellor at the University of Wisconsin and the inaugural vice president for diversity at the University of California, San Diego. Harvard Law School invited her to teach there in 1984.

Greene also served for three years as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee where she specialized in the confirmation of federal court judges and federal court jurisdiction and proposed constitutional amendments and civil rights legislation.

Her forthcoming book, “Toward an Inclusive Constitutional Democracy: The Dissenting Opinions of Thurgood Marshall,” focuses on the jurisprudential legacy of Associate Supreme Court Justice Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice.

“I came to Michigan State University College of Law to continue my life work in support of equal justice under the law,” Greene said. “Here I focused on the identification and preparation of diverse lawyers to serve diverse communities in Michigan and beyond. Together our students, staff and faculty have achieved a great deal. There's much more to do, but the best is yet to come at Michigan State University College of Law.”

Interim Provost Jeitschko is engaged with the College of Law’s Faculty Advisory Council to identify an interim dean before the college’s leadership transition in January 2024.

By: Mark Johnson