Breaking News
More () »

First indigenous woman selected as dean for ASU's Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Stacy Leeds has been chosen to serve as the next dean of Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. She is the first Indigenous woman to do so.
Credit: ASU
Stacy Leeds has been selection to serve as dean of ASU's Sandra Day O'Conor College of Law

PHOENIX — After an extensive search spanning more than a year, a new dean has been selected for Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

According to a news release from the university, Stacy Leeds has been tapped to fill the role. Leeds has served the university since 2021, as a professor of law and leadership.

Leeds will be the first Indigenous woman to serve in the role for the university.

RELATED: Student loan forgiveness: Biden administration to ask Supreme Court to intervene

Ruth McGregor, chair of a committee to select a new dean, said Leeds’ combination of skills, vision, and experience made her stand out among candidates applying for the position.

“The advisory committee conducted a national search and considered multiple applications from impressive, well-qualified candidates,” said McGregor.

Nancy Gonzales, ASU’s executive vice president and university provost, said Leeds’ unique experience caught the eye of the university.

“Her depth of experience in corporate engagement and public service to the nation, tribal nations and communities, as well as higher education leadership, is uncommon,” Gonzales said. “And this will be her second law school deanship — a rare accomplishment.”

For Leeds a drawing point for ASU is the university’s commitment to inclusive excellence.

“ASU has long embraced meaningful access to education as a threshold to individual and community empowerment,” Leeds said. “It goes beyond an expectation that students from all backgrounds and life experiences should have a sense of belonging here. Imagine an institution that takes primary responsibility for student growth and success – that’s ASU.”

RELATED: House panel eyes prospect of 200-year-old promise of seating Cherokee delegate

Leeds holds law degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Tulsa, a business degree from the University of Tennessee and an undergraduate degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis.

As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Leeds has lived at the Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee reservations in Oklahoma for a large part of her life.

Prior to being at ASU, Leeds was dean and vice chancellor for economic development at the University of Arkansas School of Law. She was the first indigenous woman to do so. 

Leeds, who is the second woman to hold the role at ASU, will begin her tenure as dean on Feb. 1, 2023. She replaces Dean Douglas Sylvester.

Up to Speed

Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.


More ways to get 12News 

On your phone: Download the 12News app for the latest local breaking news straight to your phone.  

On your streaming device: Download 12News+ to your streaming device  

The free 12News+ app from 12News lets users stream live events — including daily newscasts like "Today in AZ" and "12 News" and our daily lifestyle program, "Arizona Midday"—on Roku and Amazon Fire TV.  

12News+ showcases live video throughout the day for breaking news, local news, weather and even an occasional moment of Zen showcasing breathtaking sights from across Arizona. 

On social media: Find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out