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New dean for law school comes from Memphis

SANTA CLARA, Calif. March 24, 2003 -- Santa Clara University President, Paul Locatelli, S.J. today announced the appointment of Donald J. Polden, as dean of the Santa Clara University School of Law.

Polden will succeed Mack Player,who will step down from his post on July 1, after nine years as dean.

Polden has been dean and professor of law at the University of Memphis School of Law since 1993. Prior to that he was an associate dean and professor of law at Drake University School of Law and a visiting professor of law at University of Louisville School of Law.

In announcing the selection, Locatelli said, "Dean Polden's impressive credentials and leadership ability will be invaluable in guiding the law school's future course. As dean, he will build on the law school's growth in quality and stature and the accomplishments of Mack Player, the former dean. His background and experience make him the right person to support the development of professional leaders who practice competence, conscience, and compassion."

Polden brings a wealth of experience to the law school. At the University of Memphis School of Law he has served as chief executive officer at one of the state's two law schools. Under his leadership the law school increased the diversity of its student body, raised the national profile of its faculty and their scholarly publications, significantly increased private support of the law school and to its endowment, and improved the structure and operation of the law school's alumni association.

"I am extremely pleased to be joining the faculty and administration at Santa Clara University. I have deep respect for the mission and ambition of the university and its School of Law and for their outstanding leadership," said Polden. "The (SCU) School of Law has gained a national reputation for its academic excellence in teaching, legal scholarship, and service to the community. I look forward to working with its distinguished faculty, capable staff and engaged alumni in continuing the law school's progress and the growth of its national prominence."

Polden, in addition to his work as dean, has taught and lectured to professional audiences in the areas of federal antitrust law, federal securities law, employment law and corporate law and governance. He recently co-authored a treatise on American employment law and his scholarly publications have been cited by the United States Supreme Court and other federal and state courts. Also, he is a Fellow of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation and the Tennessee Bar Foundation.

He has been appointed by the American Bar Association, the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Association of American Law Schools and the Iowa Supreme Court to state and national commissions and committees, including ones on improving racial and ethnic diversity in state courts, strengthening clinical legal education and improving the health of law students. "Leading Santa Clara's law school is a tremendous personal and professional opportunity. The school's goal to educate professionals with an uncompromising commitment to excellence and social responsibility makes it a stimulating place, and the school's cutting-edge curriculum and location in the Silicon Valley create unlimited opportunities for student and faculty academic enrichment and professional service. I look forward to building upon the successes of Dean Player and the law school community and to moving the school forward to a greater level of professional recognition and academic achievement and excellence," Polden said

Polden will inherit a program that has flourished over the past decade. In the last two years, applications have jumped 38 percent. The law school continues to strengthen its areas of emphasis - intellectual property and high tech law, international law, and initiatives in public service and social justice - while maintaining a core curriculum designed to prepare men and women for the realities of contemporary law practice.

Polden earned his B.B.A in economics from George Washington University and a J.D. (cum Laude) from the Indiana University School of Law- Indianapolis. He is married to Susan Polden and has three children, Andrew, Laura and Emma.

About Santa Clara University School of Law

The SCU School of Law, founded in 1912, combines a tradition of excellence with a commitment to ethics, diversity, and social justice, and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Many of its 968 students work in criminal and civil community law clinics, and may earn certificates in intellectual property law, international law or public interest law. Law degrees may be combined with MBA or master's in taxation degrees, and the law school offers lawyers master's degrees in international law and intellectual property law. More information is on line at

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 8,060 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the third-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is on line at

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