Mercer Law appoints dean of school as new provost

Mercer recently named Gary J. Simson as senior vice provost for scholarship at the Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law. Daisy Hurst Floyd will take Simson’s previous role as law dean until a new individual is found.

As senior vice provost for research and dean of graduate studies, Dr. Scott Davis named Simson as the new senior vice provost for scholarship at the Mercer school of law in Macon. Davis said, “I am pleased that Gary Simson has agreed to lead this new initiative in the Provost’s Office.” Davis also said that Simson will serve as a key role in Mercer’s focus on cultivating scholarship among junior and established faculty expands.

Davis said that his efforts in recruiting Simson for some time on this role were stalled by Simson’s desire to fulfill his responsibilities in completing “the law school’s re-accreditation process before accepting these new responsibilities.”

Before his appointment as senior vice provost, Simson was previously a professor of law at Mercer Law and has been with the law school as dean and Macon chair in law since July 2010. Davis said Simson is “a nationally regarded legal scholar and has an excellent reputation for mentoring young faculty in the development of their scholarship portfolios.”

President William D. Underwood said that Simson’s service as dean for the previous four years has made a number of important contributions to the law school. Underwood said that during Simson’s Mercer tenure, he has “recruit[ed] outstanding faculty, improv[ed] the school’s facilities and enhanc[ed] career services, which has resulted in Mercer Law School having one of the best placement rates in the country for its graduates.”

Floyd will take Simson’s position serving as a temporary dean of law until a national search for an individual can fill the role. Floyd is currently a Mercer School of Law professor. Floyd previously served as Mercer’s dean of law from 2004 until 2010.

On Floyd’s acceptance as temporary role as dean of law, Davis said, “We are fortunate to have an experienced dean like Daisy Floyd to step in and provide leadership at the law school.”

“Because of her experience and track record, the law school will continue to flourish while Gary Simson brings his knowledge and expertise in the area of scholarship to the entire University,” said Davis.

Simson began his career in 1971 when he received a B.A. summa cum laude from Yale College majoring in Spanish literature. He obtained his J.D. in 1974 from Yale Law School, also serving as the editor of The Yale Law Journal.

Simson began teaching after his one year spent clerking for Judge J. Joseph Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was hired at the University of Texas School of Law in 1975 and was later promoted to full professor in 1977.

In 1980, Simson began teaching faculty professor of law at the Cornell Law School for 26 years. While there, he served as associate dean for faculty development for three years from 1997 until 2000 and as associate dean for academic affairs for four years from 2000 until 2004.

He left Cornell Law School in 2006 for the position as dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-Baker and Hostetler professor of law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. He was there for four years, leaving to take the position as dean of the Mercer Walter F. George School of Law in 2010.

More information can be found on Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law’s website or on the press release by Kyle Sears at Mercer News on Mercer University’s website.