Courtesy of the Santa Clara Law External Relations Office
For nearly two years, Santa Clara Law has been led by a longstanding, accomplished and highly respected member of the Law School’s faculty. Interim Dean Anna Han has guided the Law School through a period of transition, navigating a time that has been anything but ordinary. Assuming the role following the promotion of the former law school dean, Lisa Kloppenberg, to the Provost (and now Acting President), Anna has had tremendous shoes to fill, and she has done so quite capably.
When accepting the considerable responsibility of serving as the dean for a well regarded graduate school, one isn’t likely to anticipate the term of service doubling, the onset of a historic and ongoing pandemic, a contentious national election that challenges longstanding bipartisan beliefs in the rule of law and the peaceful transition of power, and a host of local and national incidents thrusting issues of racial justice to the forefront of societal discourse. And this list reveals just the tip of the iceberg.
Through it all, Anna has remained steady and undeterred. She made clear the position of Santa Clara Law in joining nearly 170 ABA Law School Deans in condemning the events of January 6th at the Nation’s Capitol. She also addressed issues of racial injustice and spoke out against violence that has occurred much closer to home. At the same time, she has preserved the Law School’s Intellectual Property stature as a Top 5 program nationally, actively promoted the important work done by the Center for Social Justice & Public Service, and reiterated the Law School’s commitment to equity, justice and inclusion during the Diversity & Inclusion Celebration and Thurgood Marshall Scholarship awards presentation.
This summer, when Anna officially turns over the reins of Santa Clara Law to Michael J. Kaufman, the next Dean of the Law School, we can all rest assured that she will do so having left Santa Clara Law in a better place than where she found it.
In recent weeks, there has been a chorus of voices wishing to express appreciation for her service, praise for her leadership, and gratitude for her friendship. Here are a few of the many well wishes she has received:
- “A lifesaver who voluntarily accepted an extended term, and stepped up every day with grace and patience and with the best interests of the Law School family in her heart and mind. I could rest easy knowing that our beloved Law School was in her wonderful hands.” — Lisa A. Kloppenberg, Acting President
- “It has been my great privilege to work with Dean Han the past few years on the Santa Clara Law Advisory Board. Her commitment to continue the excellence and growth of the Law School was steadfast and her stewardship of the school remained focused as she created programs and projects reflecting her vision for Santa Clara Law’s success and prominence in the future.” — The Honorable Edward J. Davila, Chair, Santa Clara Law Advisory Board
- “Dean Han stepped up for the school — obviously having no idea the global and national events that would unfold over the next two years. She thoughtfully guided us through two of the most challenging years in the school’s history. We owe her a huge debt of gratitude for her selfless service.” — Bradley W. Joondeph, Professor of Law
- “An extraordinary leader who has led Santa Clara Law with compassion recognizing the unprecedented challenges from Covid, with empathy as we faced repeated incidents of political unrest and racial strife, and with vision that continued to move Santa Clara Law forward.” — Ellen Kreitzberg, Professor of Law
- “Dean Han provided unique perspectives to our External Relations Team. We are grateful for her tireless participation and frequent attendance at Law School events. Her wonderful influence over our future endeavors will remain.” — Marjorie Short, Santa Clara Law External Relations Team
Michael Flynn, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, probably said it best when he said, “We owe Dean Han a debt of gratitude for her unwavering stewardship. She has lived our community’s shared value of service during these difficult years, and somehow managed to keep her colleagues focused and feeling supported. I deeply appreciate what she has taught us all about leadership, empathy, and compassion.”
On behalf of the entire Santa Clara Law community: “Dean Han, we thank you for your service, wish you well on your sabbatical and hope that you will forever live long and prosper.*”
*reference credited to Spock, an iconic character from one of Anna’s favorite shows, Star Trek.