Jon Campisi May 1, 2014, 8:22am


Widener University Law School Dean Linda L. Ammons plans to retire

from her post of eight years at the end of the current academic year, the school announced this week.

Ammons, the senior-most black female dean of a law school in the country, has been on a sabbatical during this spring semester, and she has agreed to serve as counsel to Widener President James T. Harris, III, during the upcoming academic year.

“It has been a privilege to serve as dean, and to be a part of the history of Widener Law,” Ammons said in a statement.

Ammons, who lives in Delaware, came to Widener in 2006 from Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, where she served as an associate dean and professor of law, according to Widener.

Soon after arriving at Widener, Ammons founded the university’s National Advisory Council, a group of about 40 alumni and friends of Widener Law who have provided strategic direction and financial support through philanthropic efforts.

Widener says it has achieved record funding under the direction of Ammons, including the largest gift in the law school’s history.

“Taking the Lead – The Campaign for Widener,” as the campaign was titled, has reportedly raised more than $12 million for the law school to date.

Gifts from the campaign have gone toward the Veterans Law Clinic, which is a pro bono program by law students who have recovered more than $5.4 million in medical disability benefits for low-income disabled veterans and their families, and the campaign has also generated more than a dozen new endowed scholarships, according to the university.

Harris, the university’s president, called Ammons a “tireless advocate for Widener Law.

“Her distinguished service has substantially increased the school’s visibility regionally, nationally and internationally,” Harris said in a statement. “The school is stronger for her leadership and I am grateful she has agreed to continue her service as counsel for legal education.”

In her own statement, Ammons thanked Harris for leadership support during her time as law school dean and she said she looks forward to her new role in helping position the law school “for even greater success.”

Ammons, who was named three years in a row to the “Power List” of the most influential African-American lawyers in the U.S. published by On Being A Black Lawyer, was appointed in early 2010 by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell to conduct an independent review into cases of child molestations by pediatrician Earl Bradley.

Her work is said to have resulted in a package of nine legal reforms passed by Delaware lawmakers.

Bradley, a Philadelphia native, was charged in 2010 with 471 criminal charges relating to the rape and exploitation of 103 children who were patients at his pediatric practice.

He received 14 life terms behind bars plus an additional 165 years.

Widener Law has campuses in Harrisburg, Pa. and Wilmington, Del.

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