As Interim Dean, I stepped into the shoes of Vincent Rougeau last summer and into a whirlwind of transformation and change.
The year 2021 was a notable one, marked by good news and milestones at Boston College Law School, several of which are described in some depth in this issue of BC Law Magazine.
Our entering class, the Class of 2024, is one of the strongest academically in our history, with a 165 median LSAT and 3.69 median GPA, and is the most diverse at 32 percent, including the largest ever cohort of forty Black students. A remarkable admissions cycle, both nationwide and at BC Law, yielded nearly 6,400 applications—an increase of 25 percent over the previous year—and the enrollment of 353 students, 54 percent of whom are women.
As you might imagine, the sheer size of the class required an extensive amount of planning, from parking to classroom scheduling to extra support staff and resources. BC Law Student Ambassadors also led a series of community building events for the Class of 2024 during the summer followed by a welcome BBQ the first day of classes.
“The Class of 2024 is one of the strongest academically in our history, with a 165 median LSAT and 3.69 median GPA, and is the most diverse at 32 percent, including the largest-ever cohort of forty Black students.”Interim Dean Diane M. Ring
I have already mentioned the historic diversity in our entering class. It is a symbol of the importance we’ve placed on creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. DEI initiatives include a task force, a director of programming, faculty and staff training, bias workshops, and the creation of the 1L required course Critical Perspectives on the intersections of race, identity and the law. We also established the Drinan Scholars Program to train and mentor future law professors who will support and enhance the diversity of the legal academy and the legal system. In addition, we are searching for a senior faculty member whose research and teaching interests focus on issues related to race and the law, civil rights, and connected disciplines.
In the areas of rankings and employment, BC Law continues to earn high marks. US News and World Report ranks us #29 overall and among their Top 10 Best Value Schools. We are ranked #19 for BigLaw hiring by the National Law Journal, and Princeton Review rank us #9 for both Best Professors and Best Quality of Life. Despite the pandemic, graduates are doing very well in the job market. The Class of 2020 had a 90.2 percent overall placement rate within ten months of graduation. Early indications are that the Class of 2021 is on an even better track.
Several milestones in philanthropy bring us to the search for a new dean and our prospects for a bright future.
Of singular importance is the $10 million gift last September from Boston College Trustee Marianne Short ’76, most of which will go to establish the Marianne D. Short, Esq., Law School Deanship. It is the largest in BC Law’s history and is transformational now as we consider our positioning for the dean’s search. A selection is anticipated this spring.
To name a few other fundraising results—over the past ten years, the endowment has grown from $37 million to $107 million and major commitments have increased by 50 percent. Cash gifts of $100,000 or more have tripled in the last three years.
At BC Law, achievements like these are—and have always been—about more than the math. The generosity of our alumni, the rigor of our faculty, and the excellence and diversity of our students have always been hallmarks of this remarkable community.