President Hatch emailed this announcement to faculty and staff on May 23:
Dear Wake Forest Faculty and Staff,
After nearly 40 years of exceptional service to Wake Forest University School of Law, Suzanne Reynolds has decided that the 2018-2019 academic year will be her last as dean.
Dean Reynolds, who joined the Wake Forest law faculty in 1981, will return to the law school faculty on July 1, 2019, at the completion of her fifth year leading the school. She served as interim dean for a year before being appointed dean on July 1, 2015.
Our law school has been on a remarkable trajectory under Suzanne’s steadfast guidance – even as legal education nationally has faced many challenges. Her numerous contributions include a vision that ensured Wake Forest has continued to set the highest standards in legal education, the addition of new academic programs to meet evolving needs of legal professionals, and mentorship of our law students that exemplifies the blend of research and practice that distinguishes the school.
For example, the 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings recognized the law school as No. 32 in the nation, its second highest position ever and third rise in the past three years. In addition, Wake Forest graduates earned the highest North Carolina bar passage rate in 2017 and an even higher rate among all states where numbers of its graduates sat for the bar.
Reynolds has worked tirelessly to “bring law to the world” by moving the law school’s Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree wholly online and adding four online-only graduate certificate programs as well as increasing the number of online JD courses.
And, she has been instrumental in reconnecting law school alumni with the University. During her tenure as dean, she has helped secure more than $15 million in gifts and pledges for student scholarships and financial aid, faculty and programmatic support and the Worrell Professional Center.
Known nationally for her expertise in family law, Reynolds will continue to work on a new edition of a three-volume treatise on North Carolina family law that has become the authoritative source for law students, lawyers and judges.
This summer, Provost Rogan Kersh will chair a national search for her successor. We are fortunate to have experienced associate deans in the law school who will help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Please join me in thanking and congratulating Dean Reynolds for her continued leadership of the law school and her incredible service to Wake Forest.
Nathan O. Hatch