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College of Law Remembers Dean Emerita Hannah R. Arterian


Hannah R. Arterian, dean emerita of Syracuse University’s College of Law who oversaw the building and opening of the school’s state-of-the-art facility, Dineen Hall, died April 8 in Los Angeles. She was 72.

Arterian served as dean of the College of Law from 2003-15. During her tenure, she increased the quality and size of the college’s faculty, diversified educational opportunities for students and brought Dineen Hall, one of the most ambitious building projects in the University’s history, to life. The College of Law moved into Dineen Hall, a 200,000-square-foot building on the western side of campus, in August 2014. The building brought together the law school community under one roof for the first time and has been rated as one of the most architecturally attractive law school buildings in the world.

“Our College of Law community mourns the loss of Dean Emerita Hannah Arterian,” says Craig Boise, dean of the College of Law. “Her leadership and influence, her impact on the lives of countless alumni, faculty and staff, and her many accomplishments as dean, including the successful fundraising campaign that gave us Dineen Hall, will always be a part of our story.”

Arterian was raised in Staten Island and attended Elmira College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature magna cum laude in 1970 and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She attended the University of Iowa College of Law, where she was the first woman to hold an editorial position on the Iowa Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif.

After earning her juris doctorate, Arterian worked for the New York City law firm Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood, practicing corporate tax law. She then returned to University of Iowa’s law school as a visiting professor and joined the faculty in 1978, one of the first women to teach at the college.

Arterian went on to hold teaching positions at Arizona State University (ASU) and University of Houston’s law schools before returning to ASU in 1985. Arterian became the first woman to serve as the college’s associate dean in 1992. When she began teaching at ASU in 1979, she was the only woman on the college’s law faculty and only the second to hold a faculty position in living memory. There, she taught courses on labor relations, employment law, employment discrimination and wrote in the area of Title VII— particularly on the dilemmas for pregnant women employed in chemically toxic work environments.

She was named the 11th dean of Syracuse University’s College of Law—and the second woman appointed to the position—in 2002. She fundraised $1 million during the first year of her tenure and laid the groundwork for financial success and opportunities for the school. Arterian cultivated a diverse and accomplished faculty, developed relationships with alumni across the globe and recruited many of the college’s board of advisors, with the long-term goal of increasing the quality of the college’s legal education and constructing a new building.

Arterian introduced an expanded orientation program for incoming students into the College of Law, which included alumni from all over the United States, as well as formal ceremonies to welcome new students into the college. One of her major projects was building the College of Law’s alumni association, as well as reinvigorating alumni connections to the school.

She worked with colleagues to forge strong relationships with Korean alumni by attending annual meetings and alumni events in Seoul. These visits included visiting the Korean Constitutional Court and discussing U.S. and Korean Supreme Court decisions with justices of the Korean Supreme Court. These international connections were also cultivated through Arterian’s work with colleagues to further develop the Law in London Program. Many programs and institutes, such as the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (now the Institute for Security Policy and Law); the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics and Media; the Veterans Legal Clinic (now the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic); Securities, Arbitration and Consumer Law Clinic; Elder Law Clinic; and the externship program, were created, expanded and/or fostered under Arterian’s leadership.

With her colleagues and the Board of Advisors, Arterian raised $40 million to construct Dineen Hall, one of the nation’s premier law facilities. “She is part of the ethos of that place. She was a visionary,” says Alexandra Epsilanty L’92, former associate dean of advancement in the College of Law and a close colleague of Arterian. “Dineen Hall and the education of the next generation of legal minds are part of her legacy. She fought tooth and nail for the law school. It was like one of her kids. She cared about the law because she cared about civil society.”

During her tenure at ASU and at the College of Law, Arterian worked with the American Bar Association (ABA) to perform site inspections of law schools throughout the country and assess the qualifications of nominees to the federal judiciary, and served on committees for the ABA, as well as the American Association of Law Schools. She was also a co-editor, with Jeremy Paul, of the SSRN Journal on Legal Education. In 2007, Arterian aided in the vetting process of then-vice-presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68. In 2009, she joined AccessLex Institute (formerly Access Group), a nonprofit comprising representatives of accredited law schools with the mission of education financing and debt management for law graduates, as well as investigating loan options and loan policy advocacy. After becoming a member of its executive committee in 2011, Arterian was elected as the chair of the AccessLex Board of Directors in 2014.

Arterian is survived by her children, William Furnish, Susannah Arterian, Diana Arterian and Cordelia Arterian; three granddaughters, Marnie and Celeste Arterian, and Helena Muñoz Furnish, and her sister, Susan Arterian.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the organizations Arterian held dear—the Fresh Air Fund, Humane Society Legislative Fund, or to your own alma mater or institution of learning.