Education / Schools, Kenneth Starr, Law School Deans, Law Schools

Musical Chairs: Ken Starr Stepping Down as Pepperdine Law Dean

Kenneth Starr Kenneth W Starr Ken Starr Ken W Starr Ken Star Whitewater Monica Lewinsky Pepperdine Law School.jpgWe heart Kenneth Starr. Aside from his platinum-plated résumé — Supreme Court clerkship, D.C. Circuit judgeship, service as Solicitor General — Starr brought us the most entertaining political scandal ever: the Monica Lewinsky affair.
Don’t you long for a return to the pre-9/11, pre-Iraq / Afghanistan War, pre-Great Recession days, when our nation’s greatest worry was whether a White House intern was s’ing some d in the Oval Office? Sigh….
Sorry, we got lost in nostalgia for a moment. Back to the present. Today brings big news about our beloved Ken Starr. He’s leaving Pepperdine University School of Law, where he has served as dean since 2004, for a new and even more distinguished post.
So, where’s he going?

He’s headed back his home state of Texas — perhaps not as gorgeous as Malibu, his current home, but certainly more Republican-friendly than California — to become president of Baylor University. From the Waco Tribune-Herald (via Josh Gerstein of Politico):

Kenneth W. Starr, the former independent counsel whose work led to the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton, was named president of Baylor University this morning, sources said.
The 63-year-old Starr, who has been dean of Pepperdine University’s School of Law in Malibu, Calif. since April, 2004 will become Baylor’s 14th president.

The Tribune-Herald offers a lengthy analysis of how Starr’s arrival might affect Baylor. The upshot: probably a net positive, given his amazing Rolodex, legendary work ethic, and top-notch intellect.
One Baylor alum, now in law school (at a top three school), offered a more concise assessment to ATL: “This is a great day!”
Meanwhile, a Pepperdine law student lamented the loss:

I expect everyone to be extremely upset. In five years under Starr, the school went from outside the top 100 according to U.S. News to 55. Literally almost every category the school can be measured by has improved since he took over. For five straight years, every incoming class has been the most qualified (gpa/lsat) in the law school’s history.
The expectation was that this improving trend would continue with next years class; but is this like college football with new recruits? He just signed a new contract to stay for another five years last fall and is breaking it in order to leave Mailbu, California for WACO F***ing Texas. I’m just worried that our accepted applicants will jump ship while we have to find a new dean.
Pete Carroll’s gone and now we need a Lane Kiffen I guess.

Googling Pete Carroll and Lane Kiffen — oops, Kiffin….
Congratulations on your new post, Judge Starr, and good luck in Waco!
Ken Starr to head Baylor University [Politico]
Sources: Starr named Baylor University president [Waco Tribune-Herald]

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