It’s Not Often That a University President Resigns to Take a Law School Deanship
Typically, the research for May it Please the Campus: Lawyers Leading Higher Education demonstrates that law deans see campus presidencies as the next move in their professional career, not the other way around. However, Frederick G. Slabach, who spent the last 12 years as a successful President of Texas Wesleyan University has been chosen as the new dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law. Slabach will become dean on July 1, 2023. The appointment is contingent on final approval by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees at their February 2023 board meeting.
Slabach is no stranger to legal education, having served as dean of Texas Wesleyan’s law school (which later became the Texas A & M University School of Law) prior to becoming president. He previously served as associate dean of Whittier Law School from 1995 to 2000 and interim dean of the school from 2000 to 2001 along with being assistant professor from 1998 to 2001 and associate professor from 2000 to 2001. He also served as vice dean and professor of law of Florida Coastal School of Law from 2002 to 2003. Upon his appointment as President in 2011, the chair of the Texas Wesleyan Board cited to Slabach’s leadership skills and fiscal acumen as to why he was selected.
Slabach has described the move as a chance to return home – he and his wife are Ole Miss alums and Slabach is an alum of the law school he will now lead. He wrote, “Being asked to return home to help lead my alma mater, one of the oldest public law schools in America, is an honor for Melany and me.”
Like many lawyer presidents, previously, Slabach served in government including senior staff positions on Capitol Hill, including as legislative counsel to the late U.S. Sen. John Stennis of Mississippi, legislative counsel to the President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, as assistant secretary for Congressional Relations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At Ole Miss, Slabach was a Truman Scholar, and he served as the Executive Secretary (and now as Treasurer) of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Created by Congress in 1975, the Truman Foundation is an independent federal agency within the White House complex, and it is the official living memorial to President Truman and the presidential monument to public service.
In addition to his JD from the University of Mississippi School of Law, Fred Slabach holds an LLM from Columbia University School of Law.