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News Release

Vermont Law School Welcomes New President and Dean

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Dean Tom McHenry stands by the Vermont Law School sign in front of Waterman Hall

This month the Vermont Law School community welcomes new leadership as Thomas McHenry begins his tenure as the school's ninth president and dean. A former partner with Gibson Dunn in Los Angeles, Calif., McHenry brings 30 years of environmental and administrative law practice to VLS, ranked No. 1 in the nation for environmental law.

McHenry succeeds Marc B. Mihaly, whose term ended July 1.

"Tom McHenry's enthusiasm, focus, and demonstrated commitment to environmental stewardship will be great assets to Vermont Law School as we move forward from the outstanding leadership provided by Marc Mihaly," said VLS Board Chair Christopher Dutton. "Tom embraces Vermont Law School's spirit of innovation and its mission to make the world more sustainable and just through education. We on the Board of Trustees look forward to working with him as he furthers our commitment to developing leaders who use the power of the law to make a difference."

"It is my honor and privilege to serve Vermont Law School as president and dean," said McHenry, who for the past four years has taught Environmental Business Transactions and Comparative U.S./France Land Use Law as a member of the VLS Summer Session faculty. "I have been impressed by the scholarship, advocacy, and passion of VLS students, alumni, faculty, and staff. They are nationally recognized leaders in areas ranging from environmental law to human rights to criminal law and restorative justice, and I look forward to strengthening and enhancing their programs."

For nearly two decades McHenry served as a partner in Gibson Dunn's Los Angeles office, specializing in environmental regulatory and administrative law. He also has provided legal counsel internationally on environmental and natural resources legislation and regulations in the People's Republic of China, Laos, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Namibia for the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

McHenry's nonprofit and community service includes leadership roles with the California State Parks Foundation, California Waste Association, Santa Lucia Conservancy, Wolf Fund Advisory Board, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Council on Watershed Health, National Forest Foundation, Natural Heritage Institute, Wildlife Trust, and Connecticut Fund for the Environment. He co-chairs the Environmental Leadership Council of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and serves as vice-chair of the Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna College where he taught environmental law and policy to undergraduates for the last 25 years.

McHenry earned a juris doctor at New York University School of Law, a master's degree in forest science at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a bachelor's degree in history at Yale College.

The Vermont Law School administration will host an inauguration ceremony for President and Dean Thomas McHenry on Friday, Oct. 13, in Chase Community Center on the VLS campus. More information about the ceremony will be available as the date draws closer.