The Catholic University of America



The CUA Law Community Celebrates the
Deanship of Daniel F. Attridge

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On the evening of June 27, 2018, the CUA Law School community bid farewell and said thank you to Dean Daniel F. Attridge for his five and a half years of exceptional service and many accomplishments on the job. 

CUA Law Professor Mary Leary served as the program’s master of ceremonies. “The fact that we have such an array of constituencies here from students, alumni, faculty, and staff really speaks volumes to Dean Attridge’s leadership over the years,” Leary said.

Appointed in 2013, the selection of Daniel F. Attridge as the dean of the Columbus School of Law garnered attention because it was notably different: Attridge was not a career academic, but a highly experienced practitioner and a senior partner of one of America’s most distinguished law firms, Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  Attridge spent more than 32 years practicing law before he decided to apply his skills in a new academic context.

The four speakers featured in the program noted that Attridge undertook the deanship with energy, vision, and a long list of goals across many fronts. 

“Dean Attridge was uniquely qualified to be the captain of this Law School…He took great care to impart his knowledge onto our students; he engineered an overhaul of the curriculum to ensure that more students passed the bar and were practice-ready; he dedicated a lot of effort to recruiting and retaining students during a time when that was of the utmost importance for the school’s financial health…” Provost Abela said, speaking on behalf of University President John Garvey. 

Leary stated that throughout Dean Attridge’s tenure at CUA Law, 926 students graduated from the Law School, 222 students earned institute program certificates, 811 students received over $26 million in scholarship money, and during a two year period, CUA Law students performed nearly 60,000 hours of pro bono service.

“Dan accomplished much in his years at the Law School including increasing our donations, ushering in new academic initiatives, expanding technology in the classrooms and our courtroom, refreshing our curriculum, bringing in high profile speakers, and bulking up our bar preparation program,” Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Registrar Stuart Schept said. 

Schept also spoke about the small acts, outside the public eye, that Dean Attridge engaged in. “Whether it is rolling up his sleeves to clear brush at a local elementary schools during our new student volunteer day, making sandwiches as part of the University’s MLK Day of Service, attending and participating in every student awards night, or being a celebrity judge at our pumpkin carving contest. Dan was someone the students saw on a regular basis, an on the ground member,” he said. “Most of all, Dan put students first.”

Board of Visitors member Alice Fisher ’92 thanked Dean Attridge on behalf of the board for his unwavering dedication. “When you think about your CUA Law school experience, it is about the values you learn here and how important that is in your law career…Dean Atrridge embodies this foundation. He is an inspiration to me and all the students here,” Fisher said.

Father Raymond O'Brien spoke about Dean Attridge’s ambitious vision for the Law School and his ongoing legacy. “Dan had a vision. More than once he said ‘It is all about the students.’ That vision will stay a lot longer than Dan Attridge. On behalf of the students and the faculty, thank you,” he said.

Upon conclusion of the tribute speeches, Dean Attridge extended his sincere thanks to his parents, his wife Missy, his family and friends, and the entire law school community.

“I have had some terrific collaborators, and I have benefited from an extraordinary amount of support. I am very proud of what we have accomplished together, but please make no mistake, I did absolutely none of this alone,” Dean Attridge said. 

“I am looking forward to the next chapter. I will continue to serve as a regular member of the faculty, teaching again in the fall semester. I plan to make more time available for personal pursuits, especially with my family. As we look to the future I am encouraged by the momentum we have build at the law school. I hope all of you will join me in supporting my successor Interim Dean Regina Jefferson.”

Finally, Professor Leary ended the program by offering a parting proverb: You started on this journey, so many years ago, and now it's time to leave behind dear friends you've come to know [until the first faculty meeting in September]You sought Divine direction and a heart to do His will. Your work became your passion, as you used your gifts and skills .You set the highest standards for yourself and others too, showing honor, pride and dignity-we saw the best in you.So don't waste one more minute "wishing" for things that might have been rather watch the seeds you planted grow, and feel His peace within.We pray God keeps you safe and well, wherever you may turn, surrounded by your loved ones, living out the dreams you've earned.And in the quiet of your heart, may you hear God softly say..."My good and faithful servant, I'm so proud of you today!"