UVA Law School Professor, Former Dean John Jeffries ’73 To Lead UVA Advancement Team

John C. Jeffries Jr.

Jeffries served as dean from the fall of 2001 to June 2008.

March 13, 2018

University of Virginia President-elect James E. Ryan ’92 has named Law School professor and former Dean John C. Jeffries Jr. as senior vice president for advancement, starting Aug. 1.

Jeffries agreed to serve in the role, which oversees a range of fundraising and alumni engagement initiatives, for three years “in order to help us launch and establish a strong start to our campaign,” Ryan wrote in an email to the University community, sent Monday.

“John has made a tremendous impact in his four decades at the University, both in the classroom and across Grounds, including most recently through his role as chair of the Strategic Investment Fund Faculty Evaluation Committee,” Ryan wrote. “As dean, John was highly effective at development and helped the Law School break school and national records for the level of alumni participation in annual giving campaigns. John will work alongside Vice President for Advancement Mark Luellen to help build upon the important momentum already underway as the University prepares for the campaign launch. I am grateful to both John and Mark for their leadership in this critical endeavor.”

Jeffries served as dean of the Law School from the fall of 2001 to June 2008. He helped establish a new fiscal model, known as financial self-sufficiency, under which the University allows the Law School greater flexibility in setting tuition in exchange for relinquishing state funding. To counter the increased tuition that comes with financial self-sufficiency, Jeffries nearly tripled the financial aid budget, and created the Virginia Loan Forgiveness Program to help qualifying students working in public service or in private practice in rural parts of Virginia. Jeffries also answered alumni calls to give students a stronger foundation in business by creating the John W. Glynn, Jr. Law & Business Program.

Under Jeffries’ leadership as dean, the school began a remarkable participation rate of more than 50 percent of alumni giving for each of the past 12 years. The School also received a record bequest in 2002 of more than $34.8 million from David A. Harrison III ’41 that was used to fund the David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professorships, to retain and recruit the best faculty. (The Law Grounds are also named in Harrison’s honor.)

Jeffries will take a break from teaching at the Law School to serve in his new role as head of advancement. University Advancement includes efforts such as annual giving, planned giving, reunion giving, scholarship support, faculty excellence, global initiatives, Jeffersonian Grounds, lifetime learning, Cavalier Connect, Cavalier Travels, University arts and UVA Clubs. It additionally provides services such as community learning, donor relations, gift accounting, information technology and prospect research.

“When Bill Rehnquist was promoted from associate justice to chief, he said it was a blessing to get a new job at an advanced age. I feel the same way,” Jeffries said. “No job could be better than teaching in the Law School, but working in University Advancement will be new and different and challenging. I’m excited by the opportunity.”

Jeffries, who won the Thomas Jefferson Award for scholarship in November, joined the faculty two years after earning his law degree in 1973, following a clerkship with Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. and serving in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. His primary research and teaching interests are civil rights, federal courts, criminal law and constitutional law. Jeffries has co-authored casebooks in civil rights, federal courts and criminal law, and has published a variety of articles in those fields. He also wrote a biography of Powell.

In 1986, Jeffries was appointed the inaugural Emerson Spies Professor of Law, a position created to honor a longtime teacher and former dean. Jeffries has also held a variety of other academic appointments, including the Arnold H. Leon Professorship. He served as academic associate dean from 1994 to 1999. In the fall semester of 1999, he was acting dean during the sabbatical of Dean Robert Scott.

During law school, Jeffries served as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review. He received the Z Award for the highest academic average and the Woods Prize for the outstanding graduate.

Jeffries has known Ryan since Ryan was a student at the Law School. The pair worked alongside each other when Ryan was a Law School professor from 1998 to 2013, and Jeffries chose Ryan as academic associate dean in 2005, a role Ryan served in until 2009. Ryan left the law faculty when he became dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013 but will hold a Law School appointment again when he becomes president.

“It is hard to imagine a better ambassador and spokesperson for UVA than John Jeffries,” Dean Risa Goluboff said. “He has worked tirelessly on behalf of the University for many decades, and he will bring all that experience to bear in this new role. We will all benefit from his brilliance, strategic acumen and deep dedication to this institution.”

Ryan also announced in the email a new start date for his presidency, Aug. 1.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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