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Alumni E-News
February 2012

Thomas Mengler named president of St. Mary’s University in Texas

Story from the University of St. Thomas Bulletin

Thomas Mengler, dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Law for the past 10 years, on Friday was named president of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. The appointment is effective June 1.

Mengler, who holds the School of Law’s Ryan Chair in Law, had announced in November that he would be stepping down to explore other professional opportunities.  During his tenure here, Mengler guided the School of Law to several important milestones, including American Bar Association accreditation, the $100 million mark in fundraising and hiring a nationally recognized faculty.

Ten years is a long tenure for a dean, he said last fall, adding that he was ready to hand over the School of Law to the next leader who will build on the strong foundation that is in place.

“I have only the highest praise for Tom’s accomplishments and his service to St. Thomas,” said Father Dennis Dease, president. “I want to both congratulate him and thank him. We’ll miss him greatly and we extend our best wishes to him and his family. I know he will be an outstanding president at St. Mary’s.”

When Mengler announced he would be leaving St. Thomas, Dr. Susan Huber, executive vice president and chief academic officer, noted that “Tom took a big chance when he came here as dean of an unaccredited law school that had been open for only one year, and he has done a superb job,” she said. “He hired an excellent faculty and staff, recruited top students, opened a new building, achieved accreditation and helped to raise a significant amount of money. We will long be indebted to him for putting our School of Law on the map.”

Mengler joined the School of Law as its second dean in June 2002. He presided over the opening of the law school building and the first commencement in 2004, and his leadership was critical to the school receiving early ABA accreditation in February 2006.

Dedicated to the school’s mission to “integrate faith and reason in the search for truth through a focus on morality and social justice,” Mengler helped to build a unique law school culture.

Last fall, the School of Law passed the $100 million mark in gifts as it celebrated its 10th anniversary. Gifts and pledges to the school during St. Thomas’ Opening Doors capital campaign have exceeded $38 million and include endowments to support seven faculty chairs or professorships, student scholarships, and the establishment of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, and the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions.

Minnesota Lawyer magazine selected Mengler in 2008 as one of Minnesota’s “10 Legal Newsmakers of the Decade.” Others included U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, then-U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty and two former chief justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

After graduating from Carleton College, Mengler earned an M.A. in philosophy and a J.D. from the University of Texas, where he served on the law review and was awarded Order of the Coif at graduation. He clerked for Judge James Logan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Kansas, before becoming an associate at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C., and serving as an assistant attorney general in Texas.

Mengler joined the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) College of Law in 1985 as an assistant professor of law and eventually dean. During his tenure at Illinois, he also served from April to October 1998 as interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Mengler will replace Dr. Charles Cotrell, who served 13 years as St. Mary’s first lay president. “On behalf of St. Mary’s, I welcome the Mengler family to the St. Mary’s community,” he said. “I look forward to working with Tom as he transitions, introducing him to our vibrant city and to our outstanding alumni in San Antonio, the state of Texas and beyond.”

Father Martin Solma, S.M., chancellor of St. Mary’s, said: “Tom is committed to Catholic higher education, social justice issues, academic quality and the formation of students as servant leaders – all facets integral to the Catholic and Marianist traditions of St. Mary’s University.”

“Under President Cotrell’s outstanding leadership, St. Mary’s faculty and staff have helped prepare students to lead lives of significance, and St. Mary’s has played a central role in building community both on campus and off. I am truly honored to follow in President Cotrell’s footsteps and to serve this great Catholic and Marianist university,” Mengler said. “The value of a strong liberal arts education is more important than ever in today’s competitive world, where critical thinking coupled with a desire for community engagement and service develops leaders ready to improve their world.”

Mengler is the fourth St. Thomas administrator in the past decade to become president of a college or university. Dr. Ted Fredrickson, former business dean, became president of Capital University in Ohio in 2001. Dr. Judith Dwyer, former executive vice president, became president of Xavier University in Chicago in 2003. And Dr. Tom Rochon, former chief academic officer, became president of Ithaca College in New York in 2008.

The oldest Catholic university in Texas, St. Mary’s was founded in 1852 by the Society of Mary (Marianists). It enrolls about 4,000 students and has five schools: Humanities and Social Sciences; Science, Engineering and Technology; Bill Greehey School of Business; Graduate; and Law.

School of Law Dean Search Website Launched

The School of Law launched a website that provides information relevant to the School of Law dean search, including the job posting, the search committee, and developments in the search.  Learn more here.

Mengler and Hamilton honored for "Outstanding Service to the Profession"

Minnesota Lawyer named University of St. Thomas School of Law faculty Thomas M. Mengler and Neil Hamilton recipients of the “Outstanding Service to the Profession” award.  Dean and Ryan Chair in Law Mengler and Professor and Director of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions Hamilton were presented the award at a ceremony on February 3, 2012.  More...

ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division Announce Opening of 2012/2013 Diversity and Young Lawyers Fellowship Programs

The ABA GP Solo Division recently announced that it is now accepting applications for both the Diversity Fellowship Program and the Young Lawyers Fellowship Program.  Both programs provide leadership opportunities and law graduates Artika Tyner ('06) and Frank Aba-Onu ('10) are prior fellows in the Diversity Fellows Program.  To learn more visit the Diversity Fellowship Program and the Young Lawyers Fellowship Program.

Meet the Student Callers for the 2012 Annual Giving Campaign

We are pleased to introduce you to Hernan Cipriotti (1L) and Meagan Tinajero (admitted applicant for fall 2012).  Hernan and Meagan will make annual giving calls to support the 2012 campaign, and they look forward to connecting with our community of alumni and hearing about their experience after law school. The Annual Giving Campaign has become a platform for alumni to advance national impact, demonstrate national leadership, fuel our mission of integrating faith and reason, and advance social justice at the School of Law.  Please welcome Hernan and Meagan as future members of the alumni community.

Ash Wednesday Mass

Join members of the UST community as we celebrate Ash Wednesday on Wednesday, February 22 at noon in the atrium. Fr. Peter Laird, vicar general and moderator of the curia Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, will celebrate Mass. All are welcome.


Two Law Graduates Establish a New Group  Focused on Plaintiff's Work

Jason Johnston (’09) and Jeff Storms (’06) are organizing a new UST alumni group geared towards attorneys who devote a significant part of their practice towards “plaintiff’s work” – whether it be products liability, personal injury, workers compensation, business/commercial, etc. They want this group to be inclusive. Jason and Jeff have several goals in creating this group, including: (1) to learn the specialties of other UST law grads so that we can start creating referral networks; (2) to have a group to bounce practice ideas off of; and (3) to create a more united group of UST law alumni so that we can play a larger role in other professional groups.

Please contact Jason (Jason.johnston@zimmreed.com) or Jeff (jstorms@gaskinsbennett.com) if you are interested. Their first order of business will be to create a listserv of interested alumni. They would like to meet for a happy hour on March 8 to discuss the best way for the group to proceed. Jason and Jeff have high hopes for the potential of this group!

Update Your Contact Information

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Career & Professional Development Resources

Click here to learn more about the career resources and job opportunities available for graduates.


Upcoming Low/No Cost CLE Opportunities and Other Events   


February 21, 28, March 13, 27, and April 3

Lent Retreat in Daily Living: Following in the Footsteps of Jesus

March 2

CLE: Immigration Policy

March 2-3

Law Alumni Retreat: Lent - A Time of Conversion (registration closes February 17)

March 14

CLE: How are the Children Symposium, Part V: From the Classroom to the Courtroom; Exploring a Child's Journey through the Justice System


March 15

CLE: Lessons for Litigators: The Critical Distinction Between Law and Policy 


March 22

CLE: Creating a Successful Solo or Small Law Firm Practice

April 12

 CLE: Human Dignity Lecture Series: Paolo Carozza

April 13

Law Journal Annual Dinner (note: new date)

April 20

CLE: Law Journal Spring Symposium: State and Federal Criminal Sentence Commutations: Past, Present, and Future 

April 25

Mentor Externship Appreciation Reception

September 8

Class of 2007 Five  Year Reunion at Solera (more details coming soon)

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