Law school bids farewell to Dean Ammons
Public Relations - Published: May 21, 2014

The Widener Law community bid farewell recently to Dean Linda L. Ammons with receptions in Delaware and Harrisburg, where she was honored as an intelligent leader who was a champion for the law school during her eight-year career as dean. Ammons announced last month she would retire as dean at the end of the academic year.

“I have never met anyone more committed to an institution than you, and you have worn your love for Widener on your sleeve,” Alumni Association President Renae Axelrod ‘91 said.

“You have indeed left your mark,” said Eugene D. McGurk Jr., ‘78, chairman of the law school Board of Overseers and secretary of the Widener University Board of Trustees, who spoke at both events. “Our institution has flourished under your nurturing.”

The Delaware campus honored Ammons with a reception Wednesday, May 14 in the Barristers’ Club. The Harrisburg campus hosted a reception Sunday, May 18 at the Hilton in Harrisburg.

Widener University President James T. Harris III attended both events and announced the creation of the Linda L. Ammons Diversity scholarship award. It will benefit students who are members of minority groups under-represented in the legal profession, who have financial need and display the qualities of scholarship, leadership and service to school or community.

“For me, the best words to describe her are advocate, champion and Godsend. She is someone I feel blessed to have had in my life and in the life of the university,” Harris said. Ammons has agreed to serve as counsel to the president for legal education in the upcoming academic year.

Professor Andrew L. Strauss, associate dean for faculty and strategic initiatives on the Delaware campus, presented Ammons with a stone paver engraved in tribute to her service. The gift, given on behalf of Delaware campus faculty and staff, will be installed on a walkway near the fountain she created. Harrisburg Interim Co-Dean Robyn L. Meadows and Dean of Faculty D. Benjamin Barros presented her with a print of the Harrisburg skyline, on behalf of their campus faculty and staff.

Harrisburg campus alumnus Patrick Murphy ’99, former U.S. congressman and a personal friend of the dean, said she had been a breath of fresh air for Harrisburg.

“I know how many lives you’ve touched and how much hope you’ve given people,” Murphy said. “Thank you for all you’ve done for our Widener family.”

Strauss lauded Ammons for being an inclusive leader who was friendly but firm, never lost site of the big picture and inspired those around her.

“There’s a vitality to the law school that we didn’t have before she unleashed her creative energy,” Strauss said. “She created a tone that allowed people to grow and explore.”

Barros said Ammons is something of a ‘rock star’ in legal academic circles. Meadows thanked her for her leadership on the Harrisburg campus. “You have led us and nurtured us and you really prepared us to stand on our own. That’s something no other dean has done for us before,” she said.

Ammons said her deanship was a labor of love.

“I can’t begin to tell you all how much I appreciate my journey with all of you,” she said.