Chancellor John Costonis was honored by the LSU Board of Supervisors on Friday, June 1 for his leadership at the LSU Law Center over the past nine years. Costonis will return to the faculty to teach, effective July 1, 2007.
Board members and LSU System President William Jenkins recognized the Chancellor’s accomplishments, acknowledging his role in comprehensive improvements at the Law Center. Among those accomplishments are:
• The student/faculty ratio improved from 16.94 in 1997-98 to 14:1 in 2006-07.
• The Law Center’s spending per student increased from $11,922 in 1997-98 to $26,529 in 2005-06.
• Applicants for the first-year class have grown from 965 in 1998-99 to 1,354 in 2006-07. Of these, 577 were Louisiana residents and 777 were nonresidents.
• Scholarship funding increased from $574,553 in 1997-98 to $2,466,866 in 2005-06.
• That student-centered goals motivated much of the $17 million renovation as evidenced by the modernized, high-tech class, conference, and seminar rooms; the attractive suites of offices for the Law Review, the Moot Court, and various other student organizations; student circulation within and among the Law Center’s two buildings via escalators, ramps, and covered walkways; and by the grand Student Lounge.
• LSU Law dominated the 2006 administration of the bar exam with a passage rate of 91 percent. The Class of 2006 also had a first-year attrition rate of only six percent.
• Established the only joint degree (Juris Doctor/Bachelor of Civil Laws) program in the United States and only one of two such programs in the Western Hemisphere.
• Enhanced the prestige and reputation of the Law Center through an impressive communications and outreach program, resulting in the Law Center’s movement from 4th tier to a Top 100 law school in U.S. News and World Report rankings.
• Secured the Center’s first $1 million endowed chair, the Russell Long Eminent Scholars Chair, held by internationally recognized comparativist Olivier Moréteau.
• Established a Global Visitors Program–annually features six or more visiting professors who are among the most distinguished judges, professors, deans, and practitioners in their countries or regions. More than two-dozen distinguished global faculty members have taught courses in the program since its inception in 1998.
• Enhanced the Center’s study abroad programs in Lyon, France–now one of the largest in the country–and established a new program this year in Buenos Aires, Argentina to enhance the global experiences of the LSU Law students.
• Worked aggressively to involve alumni in the Law Center, creating a distinguished Alumni Board of Trustees and initiated numerous programs to encourage active involvement by the alumni body.
• Development efforts resulted in an annual giving program that this year resulted in over $2 million dollars in scholarships, professorships, and programmatic support for the Center’s initiatives. The market value of the Center’s endowments now stand at over $14.8 million.
The Chancellor came to the LSU Law Center after serving as Dean of the Vanderbilt Law School and following a distinguished academic career as Professor of Law at Illinois, Berkeley, Pennsylvania and New York Universities. He has taught and written in the fields of environmental law, urban design and historic preservation. He also practiced law in Chicago and Washington, D.C.