Dean Jennifer Collins begins new chapter after eight years of dedication to SMU Law


Dear SMU Law Alumni,

It is incredibly bittersweet that I am writing you for the last time in my capacity as dean of this great law school. Serving SMU Dedman School of Law for the past eight years has been the joy and honor of my life. I am deeply grateful for this extraordinary alumni community that supports the law school in so many different ways.

Thanks to you, we have raised more than $52 million dollars in the past eight years to support scholarships, create new academic programs, and recruit and retain a truly outstanding faculty. We have launched three new academic centers, the Robert B. Rowling Center for Business Law and Leadership; the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center; and the Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation that have developed new courses and opportunities for our students, funded timely and impactful research, and brought outstanding attorneys, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and academics to our campus from across the country and around the world. We have established important new clinics, including our very successful First Amendment Clinic and our COVID-19 Helpline, that have provided desperately needed legal assistance to hundreds of North Texas residents.

Because of the strength and support of this community, we have brought the most academically talented and diverse classes of students in the law school’s history to the Hilltop, provided them with new and innovative experiential learning opportunities, and secured truly outstanding employment figures – 98 percent of the class of 2021 is currently employed or attending graduate school. None of these accomplishments would have been possible without our compassionate and dedicated alumni community, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the ways you have supported the law school over the past eight years.

I am delighted that the law school is in the very capable hands of Interim Dean Tom Mayo, and I look forward to the appointment of a permanent dean in the very near future. Thank you for the opportunity to serve this community, and I will be cheering on the law school in every way possible from my new role as president of Rhodes College in Memphis. Thank you!

Best wishes,

Jennifer M. Collins
Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law