Former Temple law professor to lead Rutgers-Camden

Phoebe A. Haddon, the dean of the University of Maryland's law school, has been named to be the next chancellor of Rutgers University's Camden campus.
Phoebe A. Haddon, the dean of the University of Maryland's law school, has been named to be the next chancellor of Rutgers University's Camden campus. (Rutgers-Camden)
Posted: April 25, 2014

Rutgers University announced a new chancellor Wednesday for its Camden campus: a former professor at Temple University's law school who is now the law school dean at the University of Maryland.

Phoebe A. Haddon, 63, will join Rutgers-Camden on July 1, returning to a region where she worked for decades and the state where she grew up.

"It seems like a great place for me to come to after five years of being a dean here. It has a real nice-size campus for the kind of work that I'd like to do," Haddon said Wednesday afternoon. "I have been very active . . . talking about the issues of cost and student debt, and how do you provide a quality program when you want to contain those costs, and alternative revenue streams, and things like that. So it was attractive from that standpoint."

Haddon will replace Wendell E. Pritchett, who announced last fall that he would step down in June.

Raised in North Jersey, Haddon went to school in Massachusetts, Western Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, settling in Philadelphia to teach at Temple's Beasley School of Law for 28 years.

"I love the Philadelphia area," Haddon said. "I felt comfortable about the move to Maryland, but I never stopped loving Philadelphia and that area.

"I'm a Jersey girl, as they say. I go to Long Beach Island every summer."

In a statement announcing the appointment, Rutgers' president noted Haddon's focus on college accessibility, diversity, and civic engagement.

"Throughout her career, she has been a powerful advocate for student resources, faculty development, academic freedom and diversity at all levels in higher education," Robert L. Barchi said. "Equally important, her work with numerous civic and professional organizations in Pennsylvania and Maryland demonstrates Phoebe's commitment to partnering with communities for positive change beyond the campus."

Haddon joined Maryland in 2009, becoming the first black law school dean there. During her tenure, the law school received a $30 million donation in 2011 from the W.P. Carey Foundation, the largest in the history of the school. The school was renamed in the family's honor.

Haddon will become the CEO of a campus with 6,500 students, 311 faculty members, and an annual budget of more than $65 million. Her salary will be $325,000.

"This is an outstanding university with an important story to tell," Haddon said in a statement with the announcement. "It has already demonstrated its commitment to public values and civic engagement. I am proud to continue that tradition and will work tirelessly on behalf of the campus and community."

Haddon taught at Temple from 1981 to 2009. Her courses included constitutional law, torts, and product liability.

She received a bachelor's degree in government from Smith College, a law degree from Duquesne University School of Law, and a master of laws degree from Yale Law School.

Her daughter is a Yale Law student. Haddon's husband, Frank M. McClellan, is a law professor emeritus at Temple.

Haddon has served on the boards of the Delaware Valley Community Reinvestment Fund, the William Penn Foundation, and the Samuel S. Fels Fund.

Pritchett became chancellor in July 2009. Pritchett said in February that when he stepped down, he would join the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania law school.

The university has a chancellor in each of its regional campuses - Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark - along with a fourth covering the new Biomedical and Health Sciences division.

The chancellors, who report to Barchi, each hold direct responsibility for their campus' daily operations. For Haddon, that will include overseeing the implementation of a strategic plan adopted from a broader university plan released this year.

"The next chancellor must be able to articulate clearly how this vision will guide the direction of the campus and attract resources to advance that vision," reads the job description released during the search.

Rutgers hired R. William Funk & Associates to search for a chancellor, working with a 21-person search committee from within the university.

For months, that committee reviewed dozens of candidates, through "very, very long meetings and reading lots and lots of materials," said Kimberly M. Mutcherson, a Rutgers-Camden law professor who also helped vet Pritchett.

In March, the committee finalized a list of three candidates, including Haddon. Barchi made the final decision.

Mutcherson described Haddon as an immediate fit for the job. Joking that she's developed a sense - "this weird American Idol thing" - for the perfect candidate now that she has served on two search committees, Mutcherson said Haddon impressed the committee during an in-person interview.

She also pointed to Haddon's credentials working in public systems and dealing with state legislatures.

"She's also, frankly, just a really supersmart, superambitious critical thinker who brings all of that to the table as well. So I'm just really excited," Mutcherson said. "I'm really looking forward to welcoming her to campus."


jlai@phillynews.com

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