As an administrator, Associate Dean and Dean of Students Anne Lukingbeal has helped with nearly every imaginable aspect of the educational experience. From working with admissions and financial aid to mentoring student groups and fostering relationships with alumni, Dean Lukingbeal's tireless efforts have been felt throughout the Cornell Law School and Cornell community—both past and present. Recently, Eduardo Peñalver, the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Law School, announced that Dean Lukingbeal is retiring on March 31, 2015, after nearly thirty-seven years of dedicated service.
"It's hard to summarize Dean Lukingbeal's service and dedication not only to Cornell Law School, but to Cornell and legal education in general," said Peñalver. "During her time here, she has been responsible for a number of Law School programs and areas, including admissions, financial aid, student services, the LL.M. program, registrar's office, academic support office, career services office, and the public service office."
"Most importantly though," said Peñalver. "Dean Lukingbeal has provided a helping hand to students in their time of need, offering guidance and support no matter the time of day."
Lukingbeal originally joined the Law School as its assistant dean and director of admissions in 1978. In 1984, she was promoted to associate dean for student affairs and has held her current title since 1988. During her distinguished career, Lukingbeal has garnered a number of honors. In 1999, she won Cornell University's Cook Award, given to individuals who work on behalf of women at the university. She was also awarded the Peter N. Kutulakis Award in 2005 by the Association of American Law Schools Section on Student Services, which annually recognizes the "outstanding contributions of an institution, administrator, or law professor in the provision of services to law students."
"I have loved working with students," says Lukingbeal. "Law students at Cornell are by nature highly motivated and academically gifted. But they nevertheless encounter situations where they benefit from professional advice. I have been fortunate in my career to be involved at all stages of a law student's legal education. And of course, I have very much enjoyed continuing contact with our alumni. Perhaps this is one of my favorite parts of the job: watching talented young people's career goals unfold. Not always as they planned, of course, but sometimes even better."
Over the years, Lukingbeal has worked closely with a number of student groups at the Law School, including the Cornell Law Students Association, diversity organizations, and the Women's Law Coalition, which has named its annual award after her. Lukingbeal's dedication to helping others has also extended beyond the Law School. She's served as a liaison from the Law School to a number of groups at the university, including the Prelaw Advisory Network, the Mental Health Council, and the Cornell Advocates for Rape Education.
For students at the Law School, Lukingbeal's passion for helping has been widely felt. "She truly loves the law school—that is clear to any student who has had the opportunity to interact with her, whether she is greeting us in the hallways, hosting us at her home for dinner, supporting the various student groups, or encouraging individual students," says Christine Kim, president of the Women's Law Coalition.
During her tenure at the Law School, Lukingbeal has been a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyer Competence, the National Association of Law Placement Board of Directors, the Bar Admission Committee of the ABA Section on Legal Education, and the Law School Admissions Council Board of Trustees, among other organizations serving legal education and the legal profession.
Before coming to Cornell in 1978, Lukingbeal spent several years as a trial attorney with the Los Angeles County Public Defender's office. Though she has sometimes missed the peaks that came with winning trials in the courtroom, transitioning to an administration position was the perfect fit, as she's cherished spending her days being involved with the student body.
Following her retirement next March, Lukingbeal plans to consult in legal education. She is building a home in Asheville, North Carolina, has a number of personal activities planned, and is looking forward to having more time for leisure.
Lukingbeal notes that one of the things she will miss most is having the chance to work at the campus itself. "An overarching favorite aspect of working in the Cornell community has been my enjoyment of the physical beauty which surrounds us in Ithaca," says Lukingbeal. "The Law School architecture and sense of history provide an aesthetically uplifting environment;as time passes, I realize that has been an exceptional part of my long career here, as well. I will miss the beauty, but there is no doubt that I will miss the students and my colleagues even more."