Penn State law school dean tapped for position in China

The dean of Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law will be heading

overseas come summertime after he announced he has taken a position as dean of Peking University’s School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen, China.

The announcement, which was made by Penn State officials on Jan. 24, means Philip J. McConnaughay, who has been dean of the law school since 2002 and was the founding dean of Penn State’s School of International Affairs, will be leaving State College, Pa. in advance of his Aug. 1 start date in Asia.

In a statement released by Penn State, McConnaughay said that the opportunity to help Peking University continue to grow and develop its American-style J.D. program is an exciting venture that will shape the future global legal services and increase international cooperation.

“Dean McConnaughay has been a leader in transnational legal practice and international arbitration,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement. “This rare opportunity for him to influence legal education on a global scale certainly speaks volumes about his experience and skills.

“It is definitely our loss and Peking University’s gain in hiring such a distinguished legal educator to lead their law school.”

In 2006, during McConnaughay’s tenure, the Dickson School of Law created a two-campus model and moved ahead with renovations and investments at both law school locations in Carlisle, Pa. and University Park.

There was also a $130 million investment in new LEED certified facilities at the law school as well as a curriculum expansion within the law school’s international programs.

McConnaughay helped oversee the development of a nationally acclaimed distance education program, and he oversaw some of the largest private gifts in the law school’s history, according to the university.

McConnaughay also helped create numerous legal clinics and collaborative international research opportunities, including the Dubai Judicial Institute.

“Penn State’s Dickson School of Law and our School of International Affairs have been innovative and successful ventures, of which we are extraordinary proud,” President Erickson said in his statement, “and Dean McConnaughay can take great pride in all that has been accomplished under his watch."

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