Santa Clara University law school has tapped Lisa Kloppenberg, former dean of the University of Dayton's law school, as its next dean, Santa Clara school officials announced Thursday.
Kloppenberg, 51, will take over on July 1, replacing Don Polden, who decided in October to step down as dean this year to take a sabbatical. Santa Clara leaders praised Kloppenberg for boosting the Dayton law school's visibility in her tenure there, including establishing the nation's first fast-track, five-semester law degree.
Dennis Jacobs, Santa Clara's provost, said Kloppenberg is the right choice for the well-regarded law school, saying "she forges innovative approaches to legal education." Michael Engh, Santa Clara's president, called her a "wonderful fit" for the law school.
In a statement, Kloppenberg said she was "incredibly excited" to lead the law school, citing its "justice-centered values" and "deep connections with Silicon Valley." The Jesuit school has a number of notable programs, including clinics focused on high-tech law and an innocence project that has helped free a number of California inmates from prison.
Kloppenberg spent 10 years as Dayton's law school dean, the first female law school dean in Ohio, stepping aside in 2011. She previously was a professor at the University of Oregon, and worked in a law firm in Washington, D.C. Kloppenberg also was a law clerk for 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Dorothy Nelson.
She is considered an expert in mediation and law school reforms and will be appointed to a five-year term at Santa Clara.
Kloppenberg will relocate to the Bay Area with her husband, Mark Zunich, a lawyer and East Bay native, and their three children.
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz.