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Widener University School of Law Dean to Retire

Widener University President James T. Harris III announced today that Linda L. Ammons will retire as dean of Widener Law at the end of the current academic year. Ammons has led the two-campus school for eight years and is the senior African American female dean of a law school in the United States.

Linda AmmonsAmmons has agreed to serve as counsel to Harris for legal education for the upcoming academic year.

Ammons has been on sabbatical this spring semester. In her absence, Interim Co-Dean Erin Daly has led the Wilmington, Del. campus and Interim Co-Dean Robyn L. Meadows has led the Harrisburg, Pa. campus. Both women will continue in those roles for the 2014-15 academic year.

"Dean Ammons has been a tireless advocate for Widener Law," Harris said. "Her distinguished service has substantially increased the school's visibility regionally, nationally and internationally. The school is stronger for her leadership and I am grateful she has agreed to continue her service as counsel for legal education."

"It has been a privilege to serve as dean, and to be a part of the history of Widener Law," Ammons said. "I am proud to have contributed to the training of legal professionals in Wilmington and Harrisburg. I have also enjoyed being an active member of the greater communities that the law campuses serve. Finally, I thank Dr. Harris for all of the support of my leadership that he and Widener have given me during my tenure as dean, and I look forward to my new role in helping position the law school for even greater success."

A resident of Wilmington, Del., Ammons came to Widener in 2006 from Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, where she had served as associate dean and professor of law. Shortly after her arrival she established the law school's National Advisory Council, a prestigious group of nearly 40 alumni and friends of Widener Law who have provided the school strategic direction and significant financial support through their philanthropy.

The School of Law has achieved record funding under her direction, including the largest gift in law school history as part of the largest campaign ever conducted by the university. "Taking the Lead – The Campaign for Widener" has raised more than $12 million for the law school to date. Gifts have helped support the Veterans Law Clinic, a pro bono service provided by law students who have recovered more than $5.4 million in medical disability benefits for low-income disabled veterans and their families. The campaign has also generated more than a dozen new endowed scholarships, providing significant financial assistance for law students, and has added several faculty chairs.

Ammons was honored with the Community Leadership Award from Best Buddies Delaware in March 2013 and received the "Excellence in Education Award" from the Delaware Barristers Association at its inaugural Louis L. Redding Benefit and Awards Gala in November 2012. She has been named three years in a row to the "Power List" of the most influential African-American attorneys in the United States published by On Being A Black Lawyer, a news and resource center. She received the Pennsylvania Diversity Council's Multicultural Leadership Award in October.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell appointed her in January 2010 to conduct an independent review into the case of child molestations by pediatrician Earl Bradley. Her work resulted in a package of nine legislative reforms passed unanimously by the Delaware General Assembly. The Delaware State Bar Association honored her with its Service to Children Award at the Christopher W. White Distinguished Access to Justice Award's program in October 2011.

Ammons is on the faculty of the National Judicial College, is a fellow of the prestigious American Bar Foundation and serves on the boards of directors of WHYY, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Christiana Care Health System.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,300 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free university. Visit the university website,