New Dean to take helm at West Virginia University College of Law

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A new chapter in leadership at the West Virginia University College of Law will begin when Amelia Smith Rinehart takes over as the Dean on June 30. Rinehart most recently served as associate dean of academic affairs and professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City.

“President Gee and Provost Reed are really doing some amazing, innovative things there,” Rinehart said,” It’s a really good opportunity to take a small law school and think about the things that it can do here as we face some uncertain and challenging times.”

Additionally, Rinehart has a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees from Tulane University in biomedical engineering and has served as an engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. She believes her diverse background helps her build teams that focus on identifying and solving problems.

“I think my background has led to a place where I believe deeply in careful and delberative problem solving and thinking outside the box,” Rinehart said,” Thinking of how teams can achieve greatness together and being collaborative with people in your building and outside of it.”

Rinehart has a reputation an an innovator and officials at WVU say here performance in senior administration roles give her the experience needed to lead the WVU College of Law into the future.

“Tying back into President Gee’s Land Grant mission, I think what legal education means at West Virginia and what the uniqueness of the place is,” Rinehart said,” And how we bring that out into the community.”

Rinehart’s legal expertise is in contract, intellectual property and patent law. All very important topics in international relations today.

“All of the ways in which we think about commercialization and technology transfer,” Rinehart said,” I think it will continue to be as relevant as now and I think it adds on that international layer.”

Rinehart will begin her work at WVU on June 30 and plans to move to the Morgantown area in the spring. She has one very enthusiastic message for students in the WVU College of Law.

“Get excited! This is going to be a fun time to be part of the law school,” Rinehart said,” I think the law school can do some really great things and we’re going to carry all of those forward. It’s going to be a challenging time in education generally.”