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.
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.”
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.
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