University of South Carolina Appoints
First Black Law School DeanCOLUMBIA, S.C.
The first Black dean has been appointed at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law. Burnele Venable Powell was introduced to the law school faculty, students and staff last month by university President Andrew Sorensen.
“Burnele Powell has the right combination of administrative, teaching and legal experience that will make him respected and admired by USC faculty, students and staff and the legal community,” Sorensen said. “We are looking forward to his leadership.”
University officials say Powell is the first Black dean of the law school, making him part of a small group nationwide. Last year, there were eight Blacks who served as full deans at American Bar Association-approved law schools, according to the most recent information from the association.
“The important thing is not that those barriers are falling, but that we understand those barriers never meant anything,” Powell said. “It’s incumbent upon us to look to the future.”
Powell, 56, said one of his goals is to build a new law school facility. The current building cannot handle new technology and lacks necessary space for teaching and meeting areas, he said.
Powell earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1970, his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1973 and a master of laws from Harvard Law School in 1979.
An expert on legal ethics, Powell has taught at the University of Oregon School of Law and Washington University’s law school in St. Louis.
He also was a member of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill law school faculty from 1979 to 1995 and served as associate dean for academic affairs from 1990 to 1993. Most recently, Powell served as dean at the University of Missouri-Kansas City law school until May 2003.
Powell will begin work at USC when the spring semester begins this month. He replaces Columbia attorney Francis Mood, who has served as interim dean since May.
— Associated Press
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