Villanova Law appoints first black dean

Mark C. Alexander has been named dean of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, effective July 1.

A recognized leader, scholar and teacher specializing in constitutional law and the intersection of law and politics, Alexander currently serves as associate dean for academics and professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Law.

He replaces John Yukio Gotanda, who in February was named president of Hawai‘i Pacific University in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Our search centered on finding an individual who understands the changing landscape of the legal industry, believes in the values of Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic tradition and has the breadth of experience to sustain and build upon the Law School’s forward momentum,” said Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue. “Mark quickly distinguished himself as an innovative leader who possesses the character and creativity to continue the Law School’s upward trajectory.”

Alexander said he was honored to be the first African-American dean in the law school’s history.

“[I] look forward to working collaboratively with all constituencies in the Law School to build a diverse, thriving academic community that holds itself to the highest ethical standard and reflects an unwavering commitment to service, the public interest, student success and excellence in teaching and research,” Alexander said. 

Alexander has authored several books on the First Amendment and constitutional law and is published frequently in scholarly journals. He is regularly interviewed by national print and broadcast media, and is a sought-after speaker and panelist for national and international law symposiums and academic forums. 

Alexander possesses significant international experience, having spent a year in Spain teaching American law and politics on a Fulbright Scholarship, as well as teaching in the Seton Hall Law-in-Italy program. He is also a fellow of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program.

He has also served as an adviser and issues director for several high-profile political campaigns. Alexander clerked for Chief Judge Thelton Henderson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and was a litigator with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in San Francisco.

He holds a Juris Doctor from Yale University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Yale University.