Mississippi College

Mississippi College School of Law Dean Jim Rosenblatt Saluted at Commencement

May 16, 2014

Mississippi College School of Law faculty, new graduates and other admirers celebrated Jim Rosenblatt’s many achievements as law dean the past 11 years.

“He’s been a transformative leader,” said law professor Matt Steffey moments before Friday’s commencement ceremonies began at First Baptist Church Jackson. “It’s literally impossible for a single person to replace him.”

The good news, he said, is Rosenblatt will serve as a full-time professor at the law school in downtown Jackson starting in August. The Mississippi native will “continue to build relationships he’s developed over the last 11 years. He remains a resource for the next dean.”

Mississippi College leaders expect to announce the selection of the law school’s new dean in late May from among four finalists.

Under Rosenblatt’s leadership, $10 million was spent to enhance campus facilities, and law school classroom initiatives expanded to China, South Korea, Mexico and France. MC law’s reputation grew, including national awards in student moot competitions. The Baptist-affiliated law school hosted several televised political debates in contests for governor, the U.S. Senate and Jackson mayor.

“You have done superb work as the law school dean,” MC President Lee Royce said in his remarks before a packed sanctuary at the Jackson church. “I’m glad you are not leaving us.”

Twice the winner of the Chief Justice Award from the Mississippi Supreme Court, and among the nation’s 20 longest serving law deans, Rosenblatt leaves a legacy that will be hard to match. This “dynamic leader” provided extraordinary service to Mississippi College, Royce said.

New grads agreed. “I liked his enthusiasm and positive attitude,’’ said Lenderrick Taylor of Canton, who’s now studying for the Mississippi Bar exam.

Another member of the Class of 2014, Angela Trawick of Pensacola, Florida noted Rosenblatt’s high energy level, open door policy and closeness with students, all ingredients making him a terrific dean. “His reputation in the community is outstanding.”

“I love Dean Rosenblatt and his high fives,” added new law graduate Lauren Foreman of Brandon. That was the dean’s trademark as he enthusiastically greeted law students, faculty, staff and fellow attorneys.

Rosenblatt joined MC School of Law in 2003 following 30 years of distinguished service with the U.S. Army. A native of Natchez, Rosenblatt is a cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University who earned his law degree at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. At Cornell, he was active in moot court and was commissioned in the Army following completion of the ROTC program.

In his remarks as commencement speaker, retired Army General William K. Suter, a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk, described Rosenblatt as a “gifted leader and problem solver.”

Staying focused on his duties orchestrating Friday’s ceremonies, Rosenblatt was brief as he recounted his tenure as law dean. “It’s been magnificent to be around such great faculty, students and alumni.”

At the commencement, Suter joined Linda Randle Anderson and Michael Parker as recipients of honorary doctor of law degrees.

With degrees from Jackson State University and MC School of Law, Anderson is a Holmes County native serving as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi. Earning his bachelor’s degree at MC in 1983 and law degree from the law school in 1986, Parker is a McComb native and a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi.

During the ceremonies, Rosenblatt commended law professor Patricia Bennett. She’s MC’s 2014 distinguished professor of the year. He presented the law school’s top student, La’Toyia Slay of Greenville, with his dean’s award. Slay served as the “MC Law Review” editor.

Photo: Mississippi College School of Law's top student, La'Toyia Jenessa Slay of Greenville is honored by Law Dean Jim Rosenblatt during the Friday May 16 commencement at First Baptist Church Jackson. A Summa Cum Laude graduate, Slay served as editor of the "MC Law Review.''

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