Donald J. Weidner, the Florida State University College of Law Dean and Alumni Centennial Professor, has announced his retirement as dean, effective June 2016. Weidner has served as dean of the law school from 1991-1997, as interim dean from 1998-2000, and again as dean from 2000-present. He joined the Florida State law faculty in 1976 and will continue to be a member of the full-time faculty after he retires as dean.
“For decades, this law school and university have been wonderful to me,” said Weidner. “It is a great honor to be part of an institution that is both extremely productive and warmly collegial.”
Weidner’s career as dean has been marked by many accomplishments. Under his leadership, the law school has risen to the top tier of U.S. law schools and has been consistently recognized as one of the nation’s best in terms of job placement. Florida State’s annual giving rate has increased by approximately 500 percent, making it one of the nation’s 10 best law schools in terms of alumni giving rate. Similarly, the law school’s endowment has increased by more than 600 percent during Weidner’s time as dean. In 2011, he was named one of Nine Transformative Law Deans of the Last Decade byThe Leiter Report. In April 2015, he received the Guardian of the Flame Award for advancing student-faculty relations from a campus-wide group of Florida State University student leaders.
An innovative leader, Weidner has established and cultivated countless new programs during his deanship. They include the Summer for Undergraduates “pipeline” program, new 3+3 programs that allow students to complete undergraduate and law degrees in six years instead of seven, LL.M programs for foreign lawyers and for lawyers interested in environmental law, certificate programs in business, environmental and international law, and a one-year Juris Master program. Weidner also oversaw the acquisition and complete renovation of a 50,000-square-foot former courthouse as an expansion of the law school’s physical plant.
“A comprehensive search committee will be formed in early fall to seek Dean Weidner’s successor as dean, which will be quite a difficult task given the College of Law’s great successes and advancements under Dean Weidner’s leadership,”said Interim Provost Sally McRorie.
In addition to being a transformative dean, Weidner is a recognized authority on partnerships, fiduciary duties, and real estate finance. He is a member of the Florida delegation to the Uniform Law Commission, and serves as that group’s Legislative Liaison.