Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OU Names Law Center for Coats

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OU Names Law Center for Coats

Article excerpt

The newly renovated and expanded University of Oklahoma Law Center has been named Andrew M. Coats Hall, in honor of its current dean.

OU President David L. Boren made the announcement Tuesday after a special meeting of the OU Board of Regents, which approved the action just before the dedication dinner featuring a keynote address by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

"The Board of Regents followed historic precedent in naming the law center in honor of Dean Coats," Boren said. "In 1914, when the new building for the law school was completed, it was named for its great dean, Julian Monnet, who led the effort to fund the building. Now, in 2002, the Regents have once again named the new building for another outstanding dean, Andrew Coats, who was the champion for its construction."

During his tenure, the College of Law has moved up two tiers in U.S. News & World Report's rankings of the best law schools in the nation and is ranked in the top 15 in the nation out of 184 accredited law schools in Brennan's Program Achievement Rankings, which measure the effectiveness of law schools' academic programs.

Since Coats became dean of the college, more than 90 percent of the law school's students now graduate, pass the bar in Oklahoma as well as other states and will have jobs in law-related functions at, or shortly after, graduation, Boren said. OU law graduates have the highest passage rate on the Oklahoma Bar Exam of students from any in-state or out-of-state law schools.

Coats, who holds the Fenelon Boesche Chair of Law at OU, has served as dean of the College of Law since 1996. During his tenure, the size of the student body has been reduced from 700 to 500 and the ratio of first-year law students to faculty has been reduced to 16 to 1 to provide more individualized instruction. Because only 170 students have been accepted for the 2002 entering class out of more than 1,000 applicants, the college has become among the top law schools in the nation in selectivity ratio.

The 2002 entering class at the College of Law, which includes students from 70 different universities, will have an undergraduate grade point average of 3.6 and an LSAT average of 159.

The new Andrew M. Coats Hall includes 80,000 square feet housing the Donald E. Pray Law Library; the state-of-the-art Dick Bell Courtroom and auditorium; the Sneed Lounge, named in memory of long- serving Dean Earl Sneed, which is used for lectures and receptions; the Kerr Lounge for students and faculty; and the William J. Ross Courtyard at the new south side entrance to the building.

Coats is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of OU who served in the U.S. Navy. He returned to OU to attend the College of Law, where he was an editor of the Oklahoma Law Review, president of the Student Bar Association and was elected to the Order of the Coif. In 1962 he was honored by the Oklahoma Bar Association as the outstanding law student in the State of Oklahoma and the following year was selected by Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity as the outstanding law graduate of 1963. …

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