One of St. Thomas School of Law’s own, Robert Vischer, will replace interim dean Neil Hamilton as the third dean starting Jan. 1, 2013. The law school announced the decision on its website Thursday afternoon.
Vischer is the associate dean for academic affairs and professor at the School of Law. He will replace Hamilton’s predecessor, Thomas Mengler, who stepped down from the position in May after 10 years at the helm. Mengler is now the president of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
Doug Hennes, vice president of university and government relations, said the School of Law will continue to grow under Vischer’s leadership.
Vischer serves as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. He has been voted Professor of the Year by graduating classes twice within the past four years.
“We’ll continue to have strong leadership. Mengler built the law school to what it is today. We’ve been very successful and that was due to his good work,” Hennes said.
In a presentation in early September, Vischer said he believed the law school’s mission and Catholic foundation is vital.
“A lot of law schools are desperately trying to find some sort of identity to grasp onto,” Vischer said. “At St. Thomas, the strongest thing we have going for us is that we know who we are.”
Hennes said Vischer will continue the traditions and missions of the catholic law school.
“He very much believes in the mission of the law school, integrate the faith and reason and the search for truth. The law school will do very well under his leadership,” Hennes said.
Vischer earned his undergraduate degree from the University of New Orleans and his doctorate from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He was a corporate litigator with Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, a clerk for several federal judges and an assistant professor at St. John’s University Law School, N.Y.
After leaving St. John’s, Vischer joined the St. Thomas faculty as a professor in 2005 and was named associate dean in 2011.
Vischer teaches six courses on the Minneapolis campus and was voted Professor of the Year by law school graduation classes in 2008 and 2011. He was awarded the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2007 and the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship in 2009.
Heidi Enninga can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.