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When the Board of Visitors appointed Nora V. Demleitner as the first woman President in late 2021, she assumed office in 2022 as the 25th Annapolis president in the college’s 325-year history. St. John’s College is the third oldest college in the United States, and it did not start admitting women until 1951. It was established in 1696 as King William’s School and chartered in 1784 as St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland

Described by CIO Views as one of the 10 Most Influential Women Leaders in Education to follow in 2022, in an interview with the magazine she noted that when she first entered the education field, she said that she thought she would be a faculty member and teach and write about law for the rest of her career, never thinking about becoming a college president. In reflecting on how her experience as a law school dean served her well for the role of campus president, Demleitner noted, “Being a law school dean includes overseeing admissions and financial aid, the budget, and the curriculum…I had a lot of administrative experience before coming to St. John’s.” The interview also had her reflect on the topic of women presidents. She said, “It’s an interesting journey, and as much as I think the U.S. prides itself on gender equality and has made incredible strides in that direction, certainly women still get treated somewhat differently from men,..With the increase in the number of female presidents, board members, and philanthropists, the world is certainly changing, but challenges remain for women.” She explained that women leaders have to navigate things differently and that sometimes people underestimate what they are capable of. She stated, “You have to make people understand that you can read a budget sheet or are able to do things that are often ascribed to men,”

Prior to joining the St. John's College, Demleitner has served as the first woman dean of both Hofstra Law School and Washington and Lee University School of Law. She is a noted scholar and expert in criminal law, and is the editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, and served on the executive editorial board of the American Journal of Comparative Law. She is the lead author of Sentencing Law and Policy, a major casebook on sentencing law, published by Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Law & Business. Nora Demleitner is an elected member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, the American Law Institute, the European Law Institute, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

She received her J.D. from Yale and her LL.M. from Georgetown in international and comparative law. Following graduation from law school, Demleitner clerked for the Hon. Samuel A. Alito, Jr., then a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She also testified before Congress during Justice Alito’s confirmation hearings for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nora Demleitner began her career in academia at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. She was a senior research fellow at SUNY Buffalo’s Baldy Center, and the Boden Visitor at Marquette Law School. She also taught at the University of Michigan Law School and St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, as well as in Europe at the University of Freiburg, Germany and the Sant’ Anna Institute of Advanced Research in Pisa, Italy. Multiple times she was a visiting researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Germany.

St. John’s College opened a second campus in Santa Fe in 1964 and some of their prior presidents, Chris Nelson and Mark Roosevelt were attorneys.

Updated: Mar 2

On July 1, 2023 Linda Mills will become the 17th president of New York University. The appointment of Dr. Mills marks the first woman president of NYU. Mills is currently a professor of social work, public policy and law, and the inaugural Lisa Ellen Goldberg Professor and Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice Provost for Global Programs and University Life.

A member of the NYU community for almost twenty-five years, she serves as the executive director of the Center on Violence and Recovery at NYU and her scholarship in the social work field focuses on domestic partner abuse and treatment. Mills is also the director of NYU’s Production Lab which supports student filmmaking. An award-winning filmmaker herself, in 2010 Mills co-directed and produced, ‘Auf Wiedersehen:’Til We Meet Again’ about her mother’s Holocaust experience. She also produced Of Many: Then and Now, about a transformative relationship between an orthodox rabbi and an imam.

In announcing her appointment, which was a unanimous decision of the Board, William Berkley, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “We couldn’t be more pleased by the selection of Linda Mills as president. Linda has been deeply involved in many of NYU’s most important undertakings over the past decade. She brings a data-driven approach to analysis and decision-making, yet never loses sight of the very human elements at the heart of a university - the passion of scholars for their field, the interaction between faculty member and student, the ambitions and welfare of students in and out of the classroom, and the trust that students’ families place in us.”

Prior to joining NYU, Mills was a lecturer in the School of Law and an assistant professor in the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research, where she received early tenure.

Mills earned her JD from the University of California Hastings College of Law, an MSW from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Brandeis University in health policy.

NYU has had two other lawyer presidents: John Sexton who served from 2003-2015 and Theodore Frelinghuysen, President from 1839-1850.

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Referred to as a “legal pioneer” with careers in both the private and public sectors and now higher education, Karol V. Mason was appointed as the first woman and the first minority president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2017.

In the announcement of her appointment, Chancellor James Milliken stated, “Karol Mason has established herself as a bold, visionary leader in the fields of law and criminal justice reform…she will be bringing her skills, energy and insights to our outstanding students…” Eric Holder, former United States Attorney General (2009 to 2015), commented: “In a nation grappling with issues surrounding its criminal justice system, the appointment of Karol Mason at John Jay College is a welcome sign that evidence-based solutions to these issues will be championed. Throughout her career, and especially during her time at the Department of Justice, Karol was an advocate for principled research and the development of new ways to deal with issues that we have confronted for so long. In this new role at this prestigious institution I am confident she will be a leader in helping to make the progress our nation so sorely needs."

Following graduation from the University of Michigan Law School, Mason clerked for the Hon. John F. Grady who served on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She then joined the international law firm of Alston & Bird, LLP moving from Associate to Partner, Chair of the Public Finance Group, and Member and then Chair of the firm’s Management Committee. Mason was the firm’s first black female partner. She left the firm for a few years beginning in 2009 (to 2012) to serve as the Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice where she oversaw the Office of Justice Programs, the Office of Violence Against Women, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Community Relations Services, and the Tax Division. Nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Karol Mason was appointed as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (2013-2017) where, among other things, she oversaw an annual budget of more than $4 billion dedicated to supporting state, local, and tribal criminal justice agencies; an array of juvenile justice programs; a wide range of research, evaluation, and statistical efforts; and comprehensive services for crime victims. Led and managed a workforce of approximately 1,275 people, of which 720 were federal employees, and the remainder were contractors and fellows.

In an interview shortly after arriving at John Jay, President Mason said that she decided she wanted to be a lawyer because she saw that civil rights lawyers were changing the world. When asked to describe the defining factor that led her to take on the role as President of John Jay, Mason responded, “I didn’t want to be a college president—I wanted to be the President of John Jay, because of what John Jay does and represents. John Jay students are often the first generation to attend college. John Jay provides a wonderful opportunity to educate future leaders whose perspectives are critical for our country. This is a dream job because education has the power to transform people’s lives. I want to be here for the long haul and end my professional career at John Jay, and see what these young people do to lead our country.”

When asked about her greatest strengths, she replied, “I’m not a traditional candidate, but I have had deep exposure to academia, and I’m a continual learner. I’m also able to listen and build consensus…My experience in the DOJ administration also lets me make connections for students.”

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