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USD to Search for New Law School Dean

Photo of Tom Geu. Photo of USD School of Law Dean Tom Geu.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Thomas Geu announced he will step down as dean of the University of South Dakota School of Law and return to the faculty as soon as a new dean is named.

“It’s been a good year for USD Law,” Geu said Monday. “We’ve moved up 14 places in the rankings by U.S. News & World Report even as most small schools had lower ranks than last year. There’s a lot of work to be done, but we’ve turned the corner.”

USD President James W. Abbott said a nationwide search will be conducted for a new dean. Last year Abbott appointed a task force to study whether the School of Law should move to Sioux Falls. The panel recommended against the move, but it did request additional funding for law programs. An extra $300,000 per year was approved by the South Dakota Legislature, to be matched by USD.

“The funding will help us establish new programs and expand clinical experience,” Geu said. In addition, donors provided money to increase scholarships at the School of Law, and the Board of Regents reduced tuition for highly-qualified out-of-state students.

“Tom has faced a challenging period of time at the law school, with law enrollments falling nationwide,” Abbott said. “We are grateful for his leadership as we have worked to put the law school on a firm foundation for the future.”

Geu has been at the law school for 29 years, teaching mostly business law courses. He became interim dean in 2011 and was named dean in 2013. He has been active in state and national bar associations and currently serves as a South Dakota commissioner for the Uniform Law Conference where he serves on the Model Tribal Probate Code Drafting Committee. He is active in the Dean’s Committee of the American Association of Law Schools.


USD’s Knudson School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News