Thursday, January 30, 1997

But Maybe Not Everyone Agrees - January 30, 1997

The Harrisburg Patriot
Copyright 1997

Thursday, January 30, 1997



PSU-Dickinson merger: Lost tradition

Ira Wagler

The news dropped on the Dickinson School of Law like a bombshell on Jan. 13, creating a stir of excitement on campus. The dean confirmed that DSL will merge with Penn State in July, effectively transforming it into a Big Ten law school with the potential to leap into the top tier of law schools as rated by U.S. News and World Report.

The accolades have been loud and prolonged, especially among Penn State graduates, and understandably so. Penn State is a widely recognized and respectable institution, and most small law schools can only dream of such a lucrative affiliation.

But as a third-year law student who chose to enter the Dickinson School of Law because it was a small, venerable private school with a long, honorable and distinguished history, I am vehemently opposed to the merger.

I oppose it because it will transform the Dickinson School of Law into an entirely new entity, and the identity and spirit of the old Dickinson will be forever and irretrievably lost. In fact, the proud, independent spirit of the school disappeared on Jan. 17 after the Trustees at Penn State voted to ratify the agreement that will swallow DSL. It will never return.

Regardless of how one personally feels about the merger, that fact alone is a terrible and tragic thing that has been studiously ignored or lightly glossed over by the law school administration. In reality, even though the name of ?Dickinson School of Law? exists on paper, it will henceforth forever be known as the Penn State Law School. Furthermore, despite all the soothing assurances we hear of how the school will retain its identity and location ?in perpetuity,' I predict that within a single generation DSL/PSU will no longer be located in Carlisle.

The Dickinson School of Law was founded in 1834, and through all that has occurred in history since that time, one factor remained constant, immovable, as though carved in stone. The Dickinson School of Law was a proud, private, independent institution. Although it lay briefly dormant during the Civil War, it survived the Spanish- American War, World War I, World War II and every war that followed.
It survived the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression and the Baby Boom. It survived the flower-child, permissive, drug-induced turmoil of the Sixties and the polyester/disco culture of the Seventies. As a proud and independent law school, Dickinson survived every obstacle it encountered until it came face to face with the arbitrary power of the current Board of Trustees and Dean Peter G. Glenn.

Now, suddenly, in the winter of 1997, we are told and apparently accept without question that Dickinson will wither and die unless it merges with Penn State. The student body was not consulted. The law school's 5,000-plus graduates were not consulted. And save for a few select members, the law school staff was not consulted.

But would the Dickinson School of Law actually collapse without Penn State? I think not. Unquestionably, law school applications are down across the board. DSL may have had to bite the bullet and either accept fewer students or accept students that it would not have accepted a decade ago. But all things tend to unfold in cycles, and law school applications are no exception. In another decade or so, the number and quality of applications will likely rise to former levels.

The merger will drastically alter the law school's personality. If DSL/PSU does vault into the top tier of law schools as projected, it will attract an entirely new brand of cutthroat, backstabbing students. There will be no more sharing of the legendary ?Curt Toll outlines,? nor will students be able to leave their books, notes and outlines openly on study carrels for an entire semester, as they now do and have done for years. One day, the faculty and staff who survive the merger will mourn for the old days and regret that such traditions were lost. But such is the price of progress and recognition.

Finally, the merger is unfair to students such as myself who object to being alumni of a state-affiliated school. I believe that a legal education is a privilege and not a right. I strongly resent the possibility that my tax dollars will ever go toward educating more lawyers at DSL/PSU for a jaded and increasingly resentful populace already groaning under a massive glut of attorneys. We are told that no tax dollars will ever be used to fund DSL/PSU. In the short term, that is undoubtedly true. But who knows what will happen in 10, 20, even 50 years? DSL/PSU will then be a state- affiliated school, and conditions may some day dictate that it siphon tax money or close its doors.

So I salute you, Dickinson School of Law, and say farewell. There is a time and a place for everything under the sun, and the time for private, independent law schools is apparently over. But I am proud and eternally grateful that my class will graduate under the banner of the independent Dickinson School of Law. The tragedy is that we will be the last full class to do so.

The proud and independent spirit that we experienced here can live on only in our hearts, and so it will. Throughout my life, when asked where I received my legal education, I will answer with pride, ?I graduated from the now defunct Dickinson School of Law.'
Ira Wagler writes from Carlisle.

Wednesday, January 29, 1997

Dick Law Dean Pretty Happy Too

The Harrisburg Patriot
Copyright 1997

Wednesday, January 29, 1997



Affiliation will strengthen both schools

Peter G. Glenn

The affiliation of The Dickinson School of Law and Penn State will strengthen two already strong Pennsylvania institutions.

Penn State will fill a gap in its comprehensive array of academic programs by joining a well-established law school with a great history and tradition.

By joining forces with Penn State, Dickinson will be strengthened in four major areas:

Dickinson will be able to offer its students opportunities for cross-disciplinary enrichment of the law school curriculum and for combined degree programs in such fields as business, public administration, health care, environmental studies and labor relations. There is increasing demand for the multi-disciplinary lawyer. Dickinson's affiliation with Penn State will enable us to prepare our students to satisfy that demand.

Dickinson will benefit greatly from becoming part of Penn State's highly sophisticated network of technology. Penn State is a world leader in the use of technology in education. The affiliation will enable our faculty and students to be on the cutting edge of developments in technology. Changes in technology will continue to expand the ways in which learning can be done and in which legal services can be provided.

In a time of intense competition for entry-level positions in the legal profession, the combination of reputations and alumni networks will enhance job opportunities or Dickinson graduates. Dickinson has a very strong reputation for quality, built on the accomplishments of its alumni. Penn State is internationally recognized as a great university. The combination of these strengths will help make the Dickinson School of Law an even more attractive school for students who want both an excellent legal education and a wide range of career possibilities.

Finally, by joining with Penn State, Dickinson will be able to take advantage of economics of scale by consolidating certain of its business operations with the parallel operations of Penn State. In areas such as purchasing, record-keeping, and institutional advancement, Dickinson will be able to maintain the high quality of its operations but at lower cost. These cost savings can be used to stop annual increases in tuition charges (and perhaps even to reduce tuition in a few years) and for academic program enhancements. The opportunity to reduce costs while maintaining or even improving services and programs is of no small consequence to a school that long has placed a very high value on being affordable.
The benefits to Dickinson of its merger with Penn State will come without any dramatic change in the nature of the Law School. We will continue to be The Dickinson School of Law, and we will remain in Carlisle. There are no plans to increase the size of our facilities or enrollment. Our students will continue to work with the same talented teachers and the same supportive staff. Our alumni will continue to interact with each other and with the school through their General Alumni Association, and will be eligible to join the Penn State Alumni Association. We will continue to be good neighbors in Carlisle and, in cooperation with Penn State Harrisburg, The Hershey Medical Center, and Penn State York, Dickinson will have new opportunities to serve the greater Harrisburg area.

The Dickinson School of Law has had a distinguished history. It now stands poised, together with Penn State, to meet the challenge of the 21st century with even greater strength and confidence.

Peter G. Glenn is dean of the Dickinson School of Law.

Penn State President Pleased With Himself

The Harrisburg Patriot
Copyright 1997

Wednesday, January 29, 1997



PSU Law // Decision was important to Penn State

Graham B. Spanier

The decision to merge with The Dickinson School of Law is a very important development for Penn State, and certainly an easy one for Penn State to make. At no cost to taxpayers and with no impact on our tuition for other students at Penn State, we have accomplished something we have long needed.

A law school was an important missing link in Penn State's academic repertoire. Its absence prevented natural opportunities for academic collaboration for our faculty in fields as diverse as business administration, public administration, communications, political science, and labor relations.

As the relationship with The Dickinson School of Law takes shape in the coming months, it will bring new and valuable benefits to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its people.

Dickinson, particularly with its community law clinics, has a tradition of outreach and service that fits perfectly with the land grant service mission of Penn State.

There is no other college or university in Pennsylvania like Penn State. We are the only institution with offices located in each of 67 counties. We are the only institution with a central mission of outreach and service to the state. Our faculty and students, through their research, are inventing a better tomorrow. They perform more service to communities and companies than any other college or university in the state. As important as our role is to educate 77,000 students, our mission to help business and industry create jobs through our research and technology transfer activities remains fundamental.

Quality is an important part of a Penn State degree, and traditionally Dickinson has ranked at or near the top among law schools in the state in the percentage of its graduates who pass the bar exam. Penn State has been the largest supplier of students to Dickinson and we expect that special distinction to continue.

Penn State, now with 24 campuses, is uniquely qualified to work with the faculty, staff and students of Dickinson. The law school joins an institution that is not geographically bound, but rather provides many of its important services in diverse communities throughout the state.

Tradition is important. Penn State will remain particularly sensitive to the pledge of being a good neighbor to the people of Carlisle and a good steward of the Dickinson reputation that thousands of people have spent so many years establishing.
We will continue the commitment of making a law education available to students of modest means.

I am particularly pleased that this merger provides Penn State yet another opportunity to serve state government and the people of the greater Harrisburg area.

The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University will strengthen many academic programs of the university at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level. I have received numerous messages from Penn State students who want to know how they can enroll in our new law school and from Penn State faculty who want to develop cooperative programs with the law school.

The merger is an old idea, discussed off and on for years. But this month it became an exciting reality.

Graham Spanier is president of The Pennsylvania State University.

Monday, January 27, 1997

National Law Journal Gets Wind of the Story - January 27, 1997

The National Law Journal
Volume 19, Number 22
Copyright 1997 by the New York Law Publishing Company
The National Law Journal

Monday, January 27, 1997

Regional Reports



Compiled from National Law Journal staff, correspondent and Associated Press reports.

philadelphia-Penn State University announced plans Jan. 13 to merge with the Dickinson School of Law, acquiring the one major professional school it has long lacked, university officials said. By merging with an existing school rather than creating one, Penn State will broaden its curriculum without adding to the already overwhelming number of law school graduates in the state, said John A. Brighton, Penn State executive vice president and provost. The new school would be named The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University on July 1, and the two schools would merge officially in 2000, he said.

Penn State Hailed for Its Genius

Allentown Morning Call
Copyright 1997

Monday, January 27, 1997



To the Editor:

The wonderful thing about the editorial page is that opinions count more than facts. Calling Penn State, the Commonwealth's land-grant institution (and one of the nation's best educational buys for the dollar, according to national studies), a 300-pound gorilla was a rather strange opinion. Any gorilla so puny would surely need to bulk up, as the editorial suggested Penn State was doing.

Now, if Penn State were a gorilla, especially since the university is a leading public research institution, that gorilla would stand tall, well over 7 feet, and surely weigh in at around 1,000 pounds.

Penn State has no need to apologize for its size or its reputation -- it is a world-class institution, and the citizens of Pennsylvania can be very proud of the university's achievements, despite a continuing decline in state subsidies.

And, as loyal Penn Staters know, the university is no gorilla. We are a pride of lions --Nittany Lions. We are not a weak gorilla, but a mighty lion. In the Lehigh Valley, we have been delivering high-quality educational services for 85 years, responding to those in need of our programs and expertise. As the flagship university of this great commonwealth, Penn State's commitment to teaching, research and service will continue to increase as we provide greater opportunities for location-bound residents in the many communities we serve. With the recent mergers of the Dickinson School of Law and Geisinger Health Systems with the university, Penn State is poised for continued success with renewed energy.



Penn State Allentown


Wednesday, January 22, 1997

A few more words from the NYT

New York Times (NY)
January 22, 1997
Section: B

On Campus; Penn State Merges With Dickinson Law


Penn State to merge with Dickinson School of Law (S)

What does a major university do if it is interested in adding a law program, but does not want to increase the number of lawyers entering the job market each year?

That is the situation Pennsylvania State University in State College has faced for years. Last Friday, it solved the problem: its board voted to merge with an existing institution, the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, about 100 miles away.

The merger gives Penn State a way to educate those students in-house, and it gives Dickinson Law access to Penn State's formidable fund-raising operation and electronic information system. Beginning in July, Dickinson's 520 law students will receive Penn State degrees, and Dickinson employees will be placed on the university payroll.

The merger of the two institutions will leave intact Dickinson Law's governing board but will give Penn State a voice in naming the next dean. Dickinson Law was not in any financial trouble but wanted help on future capital campaigns, said Christy Rambeau, a Penn State spokeswoman. The law school will remain in Carlisle.

The 163-year-old law school, one of seven law schools in Pennsylvania, brings to 24 the number of post-graduate programs at Penn State, which also offers degrees in medicine, engineering and business.

"The one component we've always felt we missed is the law," said Bill Mahon, a spokesman for the university, which was founded in 1855. JACQUES STEINBERG

New York Times Notices - January 22, 1997

New York Times
Wednesday, January 22, 1997

Section B

Page 3

Penn State Merges With Dickinson Law


Pennsylvania State University in State College, wanting to add a law program without adding to the number of new lawyers, solved the problem: its board voted to merge with an existing institution, the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, about 100 miles away./The merger gives Penn State a way to educate those students in-house, and it gives Dickinson Law access to Penn State's formidable fund-raising operation and electronic information system. Beginning in July, Dickinson's 520 law students will receive Penn State degrees, and Dickinson employees will be placed on the university payroll.

Monday, January 20, 1997

Student Editorial - January 20, 1997

The Harrisburg Patriot

Copyright 1997

Monday, January 20, 1997



Dickinson Law, Penn State merger is the right move

I am in my final year at Dickinson School of Law, and I have always liked the idea that we were the oldest independent law school in the country, but I think the merger with Penn State is the right move for both institutions.

Dickinson Law has always had a good reputation in the state, but our national ranking has suffered of late and a properly structured deal with Penn State will help that. Penn State should be able to help us build better facilities and attract better faculty and students. Instead of being a regional school, we will now go national.

I am not yet familiar with the terms of the deal, other than that I will now be going to the ?Dickinson School of Law of Penn State University.' I applaud DSL's Board of Trustees for seeing the benefits that will accrue to both institutions and I hope they ensured that the good things about Dickinson Law won't change: the sense of community in a small school, reasonable class sizes, and our location in Carlisle.

I think that it is a shame that such important information affecting the student body so profoundly had to be relayed to us by the TV news rather than from our administration. While secrecy may have been required in order for a deal to be struck, it would have been nice to have found out a little earlier about the merger.

That aside, this is wonderful news for both schools and for the Midstate. This is a rare situation where two great institutions with wonderful traditions in the Midstate can merge and accomplish more together than they would or could have separately.

-- Joseph N. Gothie Carlisle

Sunday, January 19, 1997

Whirlwind Courtship?

The Sunday Patriot-News Harrisburg
Copyright 1997

Sunday, January 19, 1997


Whirlwind courtship succeeds // Dickinson, PSU merger took only 6 months

Kenn Marshall
Patriot News

STATE COLLEGE When H. Jesse Arnelle invited the dean of the Dickinson School of Law to a Penn State football game in the fall of 1995, he had something very big in mind.

Arnelle, a graduate of both schools, wanted Dickinson Dean Peter Glenn to meet Penn State President Graham Spanier, ostensibly to talk about ways the two schools could collaborate on some programs.

But what he really wanted was to lay the groundwork for a potential merger one that would strengthen both the law school and the university.

?That's why I brought them together,?? said Arnelle, a San Francisco lawyer and chairman of Penn State's Board of Trustees. ?I'm sure Peter knew that.??

Not really, said Glenn.

?In the short term, the conversations were about joint degree programs we could offer,?? he said. ?The nature of the conversation didn't really change until late spring [1996].??

Spanier was the first to broach the subject, suggesting a merger as a possibility just before Christmas 1995, Glenn said.

?That was beyond anything I could consider,?? he said. ?It wasn't until several months later that the board of trustees authorized those discussions.??

The merger talks, which involved a handful of high-level officials from both schools, moved much more quickly than anyone had imagined.

?I thought it was going to happen, but not so fast,?? said Arnelle. ?After the early conversations [on collaboration], I thought it would take three to five years to plant a seed and then maybe we could start talking about it.??

But there was such good chemistry between Spanier and Glenn that the deal was sewed up within about six months.

It essentially was closed on Friday, when Penn State's Board of Trustees voted unanimously for the merger. Dickinson's board had voted a week earlier, with little dissent.

The announcement of the merger caught many people by surprise. Some felt Penn State gained much more than Dickinson did.

Arnelle, Spanier, Glenn and virtually everyone else who was involved in the talks insist it was a winning proposition for Dickinson as well.

That doesn't mean the decision was easy, Glenn said.

Dickinson is one of the oldest independent law schools in the nation. Its alumni are fiercely loyal, the dean said.

?This was an easier decision in terms of logic than emotion,?? Glenn said. ?The board should be commended for taking not the path of least resistance, but for making the hard choice.??

The merger makes a lot of sense logically, said Nancy LaMont, chair of Dickinson's Strategic and Long-range Planning Committee, which recommended the action to the board.

The face of legal education in America is changing, she said. Law schools nationwide are turning out fewer lawyers, and more graduates are specializing in fields such as business, health and public policy. Far fewer are interested in general practice.

Through associations with Penn State's array of professional colleges, including the Smeal College of Business and the College of Medicine in Hershey, Dickinson students will be able to become legal specialists. That will make them more marketable.
Dickinson students also will have access to Penn State's vast libraries and to its extensive telecommunications network. They are resources a school the size of Dickinson could never hope to afford on its own, LaMont said.

And without them, the quality of a Dickinson education, now regarded as one of the best available in the nation, could begin to decline, she said.

?We're still negotiating from a position of strength,?? LaMont said. ?If we had waited three or four years, we may not have had that.??

Dickinson graduates consistently do well on the state bar exam, often finishing with the best pass rate of any of the seven law schools in Pennsylvania.

If Dickinson was going to give up its independence to merge with anyone, Penn State was the obvious choice, LaMont said.

?Not only are they in our backyard, they're top drawer,?? she said.

Someone in California who is considering applying to law school may not have heard of Dickinson, but he or she probably has heard of Penn State, LaMont said. The ?new?? law school will be known as Dickinson School of Law of The Pennsylvania State University.

Penn State officials have long felt the lack of a law school was a serious shortcoming of the university. On at least three previous occasions most recently in 1986 they have talked to Dickinson about the possibility of joining forces, according to Spanier.

Almost from the day he arrived on campus in August 1995, Spanier has shared the dream of his predecessors.

There was no way, however, he wanted to take on the daunting task of trying to convince trustees or anyone else that Penn State should start a new law school.

?Pennsylvania doesn't need another law school,?? Spanier said. ?I'm sure Penn State would have succeeded quite nicely if it had chosen to start a new one, but it would not have been in the best interest of legal education.??

Dickinson was Penn State's first and only choice, he said.

?We never discussed the possibility with anyone else, and no one else approached us,?? Spanier said. ?Dickinson was our only option.??

The Penn State-Dickinson merger was one of three major accomplishments announced by the university last week. Spanier played a major role in all three.

The university also received approval from the state to expand programming at most of its branch campuses, to include the offering of more four-year degrees at 11 locations. And, on Friday, Penn State's Board announced a merger with the Geisinger Health System headquartered in Danville, to be known as the Penn State Geisinger Health System.

?Sometimes he moves so fast, it's hard to keep up,?? Arnelle said, referring to the university's youthful president, who has been on the job just 18 months.

All have helped position Penn State at the forefront of higher education in the United States, Arnelle said.

After the board of trustees ratified the Dickinson merger, he said, ?I think we have reached a point where we will go forward together, where by the turn of the century we will be the premiere public university in America.

?That's our goal, and that's where we're going to be.??

Dick Law Trustees Talk - January 19, 1997

The Sunday Patriot-News Harrisburg
Copyright 1997

Sunday, January 19, 1997


Dickinson trustees felt now was the time // Changes in legal business helped prompt merger with Penn State

Charles Thompson
Patriot News Carlisle Bureau

CARLISLE The just-launched merger with Penn State University is, without doubt, the biggest change for The Dickinson School of Law since it became independent of neighboring Dickinson College in 1890.

But the charter for this new age, several law school trustees said, goes far toward preserving the character of the 163-year-old institution.

And that, as much as anything, allowed a solid majority to finally fold the school's ?Proud and Independent?? banner Jan. 11 and leap for what members see as a golden opportunity.

?The merger was viewed positively by the majority of trustees throughout [the negotiations], if it could be worked out in a way that protected the things that were important to the law school,?? said Carlisle attorney and board member Dale F. Shughart Jr.

For Shughart, whose father, former Cumberland County Judge Dale F. Shughart Sr., was law school president from 1962-93 and whose name is synonymous with the school, some of those ?important?? things were: Retaining the Dickinson name, keeping the school in Carlisle and winning a guarantee that it will be Penn State's only law school.

The agreement also caps first-year enrollments at 180 through the 2004-05 school year, guaranteeing the school will stay at its present size. Dickinson has 517 students enrolled in its three-year degree program. Allowing the law school to keep and continue to grow its own endowment. Retaining a separate law school board so that people considering the school's interests first will continue to influence important decisions.

With those things affirmed in the merger agreement, Shughart said, the advantages of affiliation became even more attractive.

Penn State, according a report on the merger from law school President Robert M. Frey, ?will provide goods and services valued at more than $1.1 million to enhance our technological capacity and to bring us into the Penn State technology network.??

Law school trustee Ward Bower said it took a ?sea of change?? in the dynamics of the legal business to get trustees ready to make the switch a change, some note, that has been discussed with varying degrees of seriousness for more than 20 years.

The setting, he said, has a lot to do with growth in the number of law schools, an over-supply of lawyers and projections of fewer future applicants. Law school applications nationwide have dropped 35 percent from 1990-91 levels.

Add that up, said Bower, and ?the days of the independent law school may be numbered.??

?Over time, Penn State's academic reputation has enhanced considerably,?? Shughart said. ?This became attractive to The Dickinson School of Law at the point that Penn State became one of the top universities in the country.??
?In the face of increasing demand for high-cost technology, for costly, labor-intensive clinical education, and high-quality faculty to cover ever-expanding fields of law, it is especially difficult for smaller, independent schools to keep their tuition low,?? Frey stated. ?We are no exception.??

It was perilous to reject the Penn State bid now, the trustees felt.

?I think that if current trends continue,?? Shughart said, ?at some point, maybe 10 or 15 years down the road, we could have faced some serious problems.??

Dissenters to date, school officials and trustees have steadfastly refused to say exactly how many ?no?? votes were cast were most concerned about the school's loss of independence.

?Virtually everyone has a certain sadness that what we considered our proud independence is something that we're saying goodbye to,?? said Shughart. ?But things change. And now is the right time to make the change here.??