Osgood named interim dean of School of Law


Russell K. Osgood, visiting professor of law, has been named interim dean of the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, announced Beverly Wendland, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

He will succeed Nancy Staudt, dean of the School of Law and the Howard & Caroline Cayne Distinguished Professor of Law, who has accepted a position as the Frank and Marcia Carlucci Dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School and vice president for innovation at RAND, a California-based research and public policy organization. Staudt’s deanship concludes Oct. 1.

Osgood, an expert on American legal history who teaches constitutional law and criminal law, served as dean of Cornell University Law School from 1988-1998 and president of Grinnell College from 1998-2010.

Law School Dean Search Committee 2021-22

  • Feng Sheng Hu, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor, Arts & Sciences (chair)
  • James Akinleye, Student Bar Association president
  • Rebecca Brown, vice chancellor and chief of staff to Chancellor Andrew Martin
  • Dan Epps, Treiman Professor of Law, School of Law
  • Jennifer Gibbs, senior project manager, special projects, Office of the Provost (staffing)
  • Anna Gonzalez, vice chancellor for student affairs
  • John Inazu, Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion
  • Pauline Kim, Daniel Noyes Kirby Professor of Law, School of Law
  • Carolyn Lesorogol, professor, Brown School
  • Joe MacDonald, director of academic analysis and provost communications, Office of the Provost (staffing)
  • Alicia McDonnell, Law School Advisory Board co-chair
  • Jane Moul, professor of practice, School of Law
  • Adam Rosenzweig, professor of law, School of Law
  • Lisa Siddens, assistant provost and senior adviser, Office of the Provost (staffing)
  • Elizabeth Walsh, associate dean of student life and academic services, School of Law
  • Kit Wellmon, professor of philosophy, Arts & Sciences

“Russell brings a wealth of leadership experience from both Cornell Law School and Grinnell College,” Wendland said. “I am grateful for his willingness to guide the School of Law during this transition. I also want to thank Nancy Staudt for her excellent leadership at the law school and wish her well on her new journey.”

A search committee has been appointed to find the next dean of the law school. (See sidebar.)

Osgood earned a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, with exceptional distinction in history from Yale University in 1969. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1969-71 and then returned to Yale in 1971, earning a law degree in 1974. 

He entered private practice in Boston and then joined Boston University as associate professor of law in 1978. He joined the faculty of Cornell Law School in 1980 and served as editor of its Law and History Review. In 1988, he was named the Allen R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School, a position he held for 10 years.

He then served as the 12th president of Grinnell College. While at Grinnell, Osgood led a campus planning process that included construction of a number of new facilities. Under a trustee-funded initiative, the Fund for Excellence, the college also undertook a series of major programmatic and curricular advances, which included the addition of Mentored Advanced Projects for academic enrichment and Japanese language instruction; the launch of the Faulconer Art Gallery, the Center for Prairie Studies, and the Center for International Studies; and a successful diversity hiring initiative. The college’s strategic plan was formulated and approved under his direction as well.

Osgood is a preeminent legal scholar. He is the author of multiple articles, and his books include “Cases and Materials on Employee Benefits” (with Peter Wiedenbeck, Joseph H. Zumbalen Professor of the Law of Property), “The Law in Massachusetts: The Supreme Judicial Court 1692-1992” and “The Law of Pensions and Profit-Sharing: Qualified Retirement Plans and Other Deferred Compensation Arrangements.”

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