Thursday, May 7, 1998

WRITER: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172


ATHENS, Ga. -- David E. Shipley, dean and professor of law at the University of Kentucky College of Law in Lexington, has been named as the next dean of the University of Georgia School of Law by UGA President Michael F. Adams, pending approval by the Board of Regents of the University of Georgia.

"You will find David Shipley to be a person who is extremely focused, a person of impeccable academic skills and background, an individual who works hard -- which is one of the chief characteristics I look for -- and also someone who is cognizant of the need to be sensitive to external, as well as internal constituencies," Adams announced to reporters during a May 5 press conference.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, which must approve the appointment, will likely vote on the matter at its June meeting. Shipley plans to assume the position on July 1.

"This is an outstanding law school in all respects," said Shipley, offering praise for the faculty, student body, staff, alumni, facilities and law library. "Add that to a dynamic public university -- one of the nation's top research institutions -- and this becomes one of the most attractive deanships in legal education in the United States. And that's why when I received the offer from President Adams, I didn't wait very long before saying, 'You bet, I'm coming.'"

At Kentucky, Shipley leads a law faculty of 27 and a student enrollment of 420, compared to a tenure-track faculty of 35 and 650 students at UGA. Among his achievements are the establishment of a legal clinic for the elderly, the completion of substantial fund-raising efforts for scholarships and faculty support, and success in faculty recruitment.

Shipley previously was dean, director of the law center and professor of law at the University of Mississippi School of Law from 1990-1993. He joined the University of South Carolina law faculty in 1977, and served as its associate dean for administration from 1989-1990. He worked for the Providence, Rhode Island law firm of Tillinghast, Collins and Graham following law school.

Shipley earned his bachelor's degree with highest honors in history from Oberlin College in 1972, and he was nominated for the Rhodes Scholarship. He then earned a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1975, where he served as executive editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. His specialty areas are copyright, intellectual property and administrative law. He and his wife, Jenny Coleman, have one daughter, Shannon, a rising high school senior.

Shipley emerged from a national dean search that began in the fall and attracted more than 116 nominations and 56 applicants. The search committee, comprised of representatives from the law faculty, staff, students and alumni, brought five finalists to the UGA campus for intensive two-day interviews with constituencies. The names of three - Shipley, University of Mississippi School of Law Dean Samuel M. Davis, and UGA School of Law Associate Dean Paul M. Kurtz - were forwarded to Vice President for Academic Affairs William F. Prokasy and President Adams with the endorsement of the full committee.

"[The search committee] made our deliberations difficult in the sense that all three of the finalists were equal on strong ability and strong character, and any one of the three could have been an effective dean for the law school," said Adams, "but we are confident that we chose the best person to lead the law school over the next several years."

Shipley succeeds Edward D. Spurgeon, who announced last June that he would resign at the end of his fifth year in office on June 30, 1998. Spurgeon plans to return to the UGA law faculty to pursue teaching and writing in the fields of estate and gift tax; estate planning; and law, public policy and aging.