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Villanova University Appoints Mark C. Alexander, JD, as the Arthur J. Kania Dean of its Charles Widger School of Law

Villanova University Appoints Mark C. Alexander, JD, as the Arthur J. Kania Dean of its  Charles Widger School of Law

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, today announced the appointment of Mark C. Alexander, JD, as the Arthur J. Kania Dean of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, effective July 1. A recognized leader, scholar and teacher specializing in constitutional law and the intersection of law and politics, Alexander currently serves as Associate Dean for Academics and Professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Law. This key appointment is the result of a national search with participation by faculty, students, administrators and alumni. Alexander replaces John Yukio Gotanda, who in February was named president of Hawai‘i Pacific University in Honolulu, Hawai'i.

“Mark Alexander brings tremendous academic and practical skills to his new role as Dean of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law,” said Father Donohue. “Our search centered on finding an individual who understands the changing landscape of the legal industry, believes in the values of Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic tradition and has the breadth of experience to sustain and build upon the Law School’s forward momentum. Mark quickly distinguished himself as an innovative leader who possesses the character and creativity to continue the Law School’s upward trajectory.”

As Dean of the Widger School of Law, Alexander will serve as chief administrator and chairperson of the faculty and manage an annual budget of more than $24 million. He will be responsible for all facets of the Widger School of Law, including its long-term strategic and academic planning, curricular initiatives, faculty research and teaching support, student services, fundraising and alumni relations. In this leadership position, he will also seek to leverage Villanova’s nationally recognized academic programs and explore opportunities for interdisciplinary partnerships across the University such as the “Where Law Meets Business” strategy of the Law School that pairs Villanova’s reputation for excellence in business education, professional development programs and real-world learning to prepare its Law School graduates for career success.

"It is a tremendous privilege for me to be named the Arthur J. Kania Dean of the Charles Widger School of Law at such an exciting time in the Law School’s and University's history," said Dean Alexander. "I am also honored to be the first African-American Dean in the history of Villanova Law and look forward to working collaboratively with all constituencies in the Law School to build a diverse, thriving academic community that holds itself to the highest ethical standard and reflects an unwavering commitment to service, the public interest, student success and excellence in teaching and research."

In Alexander’s current role as Associate Dean for Academics at Seton Hall University’s School of Law, he oversees the curriculum’s academic components, works closely with the faculty and administration on moving the school’s strategic plan forward, and manages the career, enrollment and student services offices. A member of Seton Hall’s Law School faculty for two decades, he has an exceptionally strong record of teaching and scholarship. Honored as Professor of the Year on numerous occasions, Alexander’s areas of teaching expertise include constitutional law, criminal procedure, election law, criminal law and the First Amendment. His research interests focus on the constitutional dimensions of election law and campaign reform.

“For the next Dean, we wanted an individual with a commitment to a student-centric approach to legal education and a visionary and collaborative leader who could inspire the Law School to reach even greater heights. These are qualities we found in Mark Alexander,” said University Provost Patrick Maggitti, PhD. “As both an outstanding teacher and scholar, Mark understands the importance of student success and scholarly research. I am delighted that Mark will take over the helm, building upon our Law School’s strong tradition of excellence.”

Alexander has authored several books on the First Amendment and constitutional law and is published frequently in scholarly journals. He is regularly interviewed by national print and broadcast media, and is a sought-after speaker and panelist for national and international law symposiums and academic forums. Alexander possesses significant international experience, having spent a year in Spain teaching American law and politics on a Fulbright Scholarship, as well as teaching in the Seton Hall Law-in-Italy program. He is also a fellow of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program.

In addition to his leadership in academia, Alexander has also served as an adviser and issues director for several high-profile political campaigns. Prior to joining the Seton Hall Law School faculty in 1996, Alexander clerked for Chief Judge Thelton Henderson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and was a litigator with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in San Francisco. He earned a Juris Doctor from Yale University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Yale University.

About Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law: Founded in 1953, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law provides a broad-based legal education that is grounded in academic rigor, practical hands-on training and a foundation in business that prepares graduates for diverse and rewarding legal careers. The Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association, offers seven in-house clinics and more than 150 externship opportunities that immerse students in the real-world application of their legal skills. Villanova is home to a number of Centers of Excellence—the Center for Law and Religion; the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance; the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship; and the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law—which provide students the opportunity to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary legal fields through study, practical experience and mentorship. For more visit

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit