Archive for Thursday, February 10, 2011

Judge Deanell Tacha named as Pepperdine University’s dean of law

February 10, 2011, 4:25 p.m. Updated February 10, 2011, 6:42 p.m.


Longtime federal appeals court judge and Lawrence resident Deanell Tacha has been named as Pepperdine University’s dean of law.

She will begin in her new position on June 1.

“This is rather bittersweet,” Tacha said Thursday afternoon, shortly after the announcement was made public. “Lawrence remains the home of my heart and I’ll be back frequently.”

Pepperdine President Andrew Benton said that he selected Tacha from a field of three finalists given to him by a search committee.

He said he was looking for a dean with excellent academic credentials, demonstrated leadership qualities and a sense of the purpose of the university, which is a private Christian school in Malibu, Calif.

Most importantly, he said, the new dean had to be someone who brought an enthusiasm for the job and would bring a positive force to the school.

Tacha was “all that and more,” he said. “Anyone who’s spent time with Judge Tacha — now Dean Tacha — can’t help but be impressed.”

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan, Tacha has served on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals since January 1986. She was the appellate court’s chief judge from January 2001 to 2007.

She has also been a member of the KU law faculty and rose through the ranks to the position of KU’s vice chancellor for academic affairs before being appointed to the federal bench.

Tacha said she’ll be staying involved with a number of volunteer and civic organizations in Lawrence. She said she hoped to continue her work with the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, though she didn’t know if she’d be able to continue as chairwoman.

She said she’d also like to continue her association with the KU Endowment Association if her new employer allows. Though fundraising would certainly be a requirement of her job at Pepperdine, she said the two schools likely don’t compete for many donors’ funds.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from KU and a law degree from the University of Michigan.

Her appointment follows a nine-month national search to replace former dean Kenneth W. Starr, who became president of Baylor University.

Tacha, who just entered senior status as a judge earlier this year, will retire completely from the bench in June as she takes her new post.


lawslady 6 years, 10 months ago

We will miss her in Kansas, a lot, but she'll be a great dean. Come back to us one day, OK?

preebo 6 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence for Malibu, not too bad... Best of luck, Your Honor.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Interesting to note that the man she is replacing is the infamous Ken Starr who was the Independent Counsel under Bill Clinton.

SinoHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

What do you mean by "worse"? Ken Starr is a brilliant attorney and was an excellent dean.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Shall I circle my thumb and forefinger and use the index finger of my other hand to explain?

Chengdu808 6 years, 10 months ago

She once brought Ken Starr to church as her guest - here in Lawrence.

Alison Carter 6 years, 10 months ago

You always make us proud, Deanell. Don't stay away too long. Watch out, California, here She comes!

blindrabbit 6 years, 10 months ago

I always felt Ken Starr had repressed sexual issues. He seemed to be too fascinated with Clinton's sexual proclivities; maybe a little bit of jealousy. The view from Malibu over the setting sun of the Pacific coast; how could you resist. Best wishes!

Bob Forer 6 years, 10 months ago

She was a mediocre law professor at KU, perhaps because she had her hands in too many activities.

TopJayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Ken Starr and Tacha are members of the Church of Christ. That is the affiliation for Pepperdine. Cait, I suggest you not go to Pepperdine or that Church. You wouldn't understand. But since you have not endorsed this move, I'm sure it is a bad one.....

MattressMan 6 years, 10 months ago

Deanell Tacha is now Dean Tacha, I thought this was going to be one of those transgender stories.

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