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Rodney A. Smolla
Named incoming Vermont Law School President

The Vermont Law School Board of Trustees has named Rodney A. Smolla incoming VLS president. The higher education leader and legal educator, litigator, scholar, and author will become the school’s president on July 1.

“After an extensive national search, the board is convinced that Rod Smolla is the right person at the right time for Vermont Law School,” said Glenn Berger JD’78, chair of the board of trustees. “His unique blend of university and law school experience, combined with an impressive scholarly record and inclusive leadership style, is going to provide VLS with tremendous momentum as we redefine the way we educate the future leaders for the community and world.”

Professor Smolla’s appointment represents the first in a series of personnel and operational transformations called for in a board-adopted strategic plan aimed at elevating the school’s world-renowned environmental program and first-of-its-kind restorative justice program, and growing enrollment and institutional reputation by appealing to a wider audience of prospective students and donors.

Meet Incoming President Smolla

When his term as president of Vermont Law School officially begins on July 1, 2022, Rodney Smolla will join VLS from Widener University Delaware Law School, where he has served as dean and professor of law since 2015.

Previously president of Furman University, and dean at Washington and Lee University and University of Richmond law schools, Professor Smolla has long been a been a strong advocate for experiential learning, the development of professional competencies, and civic engagement.

“I am thrilled to accept the invitation to come to South Royalton as the new president of Vermont Law School. This is a school with a proud history and I’m most honored to be joining it as we move forward, in the spirit of that proud history, to continue to promote the preparation of students and the advancement of the greater good, faithful to the school’s motto: Law for the community and the world.”

— INCOMING President Rodney A. Smolla

“The presidential search was robust and the resulting candidate pool was deep with talent. Rod impressed everyone with his thoughtful, egoless approach and the search committee was very excited about his candidacy.”

— Mark Sciarrotta JD'96, Trustee, Co-Chair Presidential Search Committee

About the Search

The Vermont Law School Board of Trustees, following an extensive strategic planning process, determined that it is time to design and create a presidential role for the school. As Vermont Law School embraces its bold new strategic plan, the president will lead the institution in providing rigorous graduate-level law and policy education that responds to the needs of the 21st century.

The Board of Trustees appointed a presidential search committee, co-chaired by Trustee Mark Sciarrotta JD’96, and Laurie Beyranevand JD’03, professor of law and director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.

Vermont Law School
Presidential Search Committee

Mark Sciarrotta JD'96, Co-Chair, Trustee

Laurie Beyranevand JD'03, Co-Chair, VLS Faculty

Glenn Berger JD'78, Chair, Board of Trustees

Amy Davenport Trustee

Janice Forgays JD'85, Trustee

Scott Cullen JD'97, Trustee

Fito Andre JD'22, Student Trustee

Beth Locker Faculty Member, Director JD Externship Program

Jeannie Oliver LLM'14, Faculty Representative

Katie Merrill Staff Representative

Lorraine Atwood Vice President for Finance


Search Timeline Overview

Mid-October—Early December

Search Committee met to establish the search and committee schedules
Spelman Johnson consultants met with campus stakeholders
Search and recruitment documents were developed and approved
Presidential webpage designed for the VLS website
Soft launch of the search

Month of January

Active recruitment phase of the search
Candidates sourced and recruited nationally

Month of February

Candidate pool was reviewed and advanced to the search committee
Search committee conducted video interviews of semi-finalists
Search committee selected finalists for on-campus interviews
On campus interviews were scheduled

Month of March

Board of Trustees reviewed the final candidates

Month of April

Anticipated announcement of Vermont Law School's new president