Campbell law dean to step down

Posted October 4, 2011 3:46 p.m. EDT

— The woman who established Campbell University's law school in downtown Raleigh said Tuesday that she plans to step down as dean next summer and return to teaching.

Melissa Essary became the first woman to head the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law when she was named dean in 2006. Three years later, the law school moved from Campbell's campus in Buies Creek to a Raleigh office building to raise its profile and expand opportunities for its students.

"Melissa Essary was the right person at the right time to lead our law school onto the next level,” Campbell President Jerry M. Wallace said in a statement. “Her leadership has been extraordinary in its breadth and stunning in its achievement. She will be greatly missed as our law school’s dean.”

Essary taught at the Baylor University School of Law in Texas for 16 years before coming to Campbell.

In addition to moving the campus, she also is credited with setting up a branch of the North Carolina Business Court at the law school, attracting a larger and more successful pool of applicants, expanding the fields of study offered by the school and boosting donations from alumni.

Campbell plans to conduct a national search for its next law school dean.