The Dickinson School of Law's board of governors has not ruled out a proposal to move the school to University Park. Members said it will be months before they decide whether to move the school to the main campus of parent institution Penn State University in State College or keep it in Carlisle. That decision will be based on finances as well as the opinions of people inside and outside of the law school.
The board plans to immediately begin contacting alumni, students, faculty and community members for their ideas on the best location for a facility to replace the outdated Trickett Hall, members said.
"We do confront some serious constraints in our facility. We need a new and expanded facility to serve our students," law school Dean Philip McConnaughay said yesterday at the end of a two-day board meeting in Carlisle.
The board will also search for funding. "We have a challenge ahead ... to get the [financial] support we need for the facility we need," McConnaughay said.
The Penn State Board of Trustees would have to approve any university funds spent on a law school, university President Graham Spanier said Friday. The law school merged with Penn State in 2000.
The Dickinson board will meet again in January, and a building plan will be adopted within a year, said board Chairman LeRoy S. Zimmerman. The options are: move to the Penn State main campus, expand at its Carlisle location or replace Trickett Hall with a Carlisle-area facility.
?I would personally hope that we're at that point in six months. The big problem is going to be the funding to do what we need to do,?? said board member G. Thomas Miller.
A local fund drive will be followed by a regional effort, relying on Penn State resources, to contact alumni and seek their financial support for a new law school.
"We need to energize our alumni," Zimmerman said.
This weekend was the first time the board met to talk about the proposal to move the law school. Former Gov. Tom Ridge, a board member and alumnus of the law school, attended the meeting yesterday morning. The weekend meetings were preceded by the leaking of the McConnaughay memo by an unknown board member last week.
The board discussed the leak during its weekend talks in Dickinson's Cafe Per Se, several board members said.
Board member Hubert Gilroy said after the meeting yesterday that the leak showed a lack of confidence in the board. He said the board would have carefully studied the University Park proposal regardless of an advanced public airing.
Gov. Ed Rendell, state lawmakers and local political, business and community leaders and some students have called into question the motives of Penn State officials in the proposal.
John Cosgrove, a doctoral student at Penn State, said yesterday that PSU's motives should be examined.
"Quite frankly, PSU is a bully, and they've been on an aggressive building and expansion campaign under the leadership of Graham Spanier. Older buildings are going wanting ... for repair and renovation, while PSU sinks ever more money into building new ones," he said.
In the memo, McConnaughay said that the school needs to expand. He also has concerns about the law school's "languishing reputation" that had to do, in part, with Dickinson receiving a third-tier ranking in the annual survey of colleges and graduate schools by U.S. News & World Report. The law school's enrollment has risen from 530 in 1998 to 646 this school year.
The law school has also failed to raise enough money to expand in Carlisle. A six-year campaign to raise $16 million "yielded only $9 million in cash," he wrote in his memo.
McConnaughay said he did not want to increase tuition to pay for the expansion.
Tuition has risen nearly $10,000 since 1999.
The memo stated that Penn State was prepared to pay for a $60 million facility for Dickinson at University Park as long as a design was completed within a year.
McConnaughay has dodged questions about the proposal, saying he would discuss details about a move after the board met. Yesterday, he refused to provide details on the proposal.
He said public meetings would be held seeking community input in deciding the school's future.
"We plan to be completely transparent in terms of our planning and objectives,"
McConnaughay said. ELIZABETH GIBSON: 249-2006 or email@example.com INFOBOX:
THE SCHOOL *Number of students: 646 *Graduates include five governors, three U.S. senators, Homeland Defense Secretary Tom Ridge, and more than 100 state, federal and county judges *Tuition is about $60,000 for the three-year program *Employs about 50 faculty and 30 adjunct professors *Founded in 1834. Oldest law school in Pennsylvania; fifth oldest in the nation *Merged with Penn State in 2000
THE DICKINSON SCHOOL OF LAW BOARD OF GOVERNORS *LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Harrisburg, former state attorney general and chairman of the board of governors *Helen S. Balick, Wilmington, Del., retired judge *Zygmunt R. Bialkowski Jr., Scranton, lawyer, Morgolis Edelstein *Ward A. Bower, Newton Square, lawyer, Altman Weil Inc. *William R. Caroselli, Pittsburgh, lawyer, Caroselli, Beachler, McTierran & Conboy *J. Michael Eakin, Harrisburg, state Supreme Court judge * Anthony C. Falvello, Sugarloaf, lawyer, The Falvello Law Firm *Kathleen P. Galop, Madison, N.J., lawyer, Preservation Possibilities *Hubert X. Gilroy, Carlisle, lawyer, Broujos & Gilroy, P.C. *M. Fletcher Gornall, Erie, retired lawyer *Joseph M. Harenza, Reading, lawyer, Stevens & Lee, P.C. *Shaun D. Henry, lawyer, McNees Wallace & Nurick Harrisburg *Jan R. Jurden, Wilmington, Del., Delaware Superior Court judge *Lewis Katz, Cherry Hill, N.J., lawyer, Katz Ettin Levine Kurzweil & Weber, P.C. *Edwin L. Klett, Pittsburgh, lawyer, Klett, Lieber, Rooney & Schorling *Dr. Sidney D. Kline Jr., Reading, lawyer, Stevens & Lee, P.C. *Jason P. Kutulakis, Carlisle, lawyer, Abom & Kutulakis * Joan Dawley Maher, Carlisle, retired lawyer *James G. McLean, Pittsburgh, lawyer, Manion, McDonough & Lucas, P.C. *G. Thomas Miller, Harrisburg, lawyer, Miller & Miller *Leslie Anne Miller, Harrisburg, lawyer, officer of General Counsel *H. Laddie Montague Jr., Philadelphia, lawyer, Berger & Montague * Michelle Moore, Atlanta, lawyer, Jones Day *Joseph Nadel, San Francisco, lawyer, Berger, Nadel & Vannelli, P.C. *Christylee Peck, Harrisburg, lawyer, Rhoads & Sinon, LLP *Arthur L. Piccone, Wilkes-Barre, lawyer, Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, P.C. *Sylvia H. Rambo, Harrisburg, U.S. District judge *Tom Ridge, Washington, D.C., federal Homeland Security director *Dale F. Shugart Jr., Carlisle, lawyer, Shugart Law Office *Donald C. Smaltz, Torrence, Calif., lawyer, Greenberg, Fields & Whitcomb, LLP *J. Rodman Steele Jr., West Palm Beach, Fla., lawyer, Ackerman & Senterfitt *Tracy L. Steele, Philadelphia, lawyer, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP *Donald C. Taylor, Wilmington, Del., lawyer, Cooch & Taylor *Nathan H. Waters Jr., Harrisburg, solicitor/chief legal officer, Harrisburg School District *Sandor Yelen, Wilkes-Barre, lawyer, Yelen Law Office