UC Hastings Law School Names Married Lesbian Veteran as New Dean

By: Sunnivie Brydum
December 12 2012 3:59 PM

The University of California Hastings College of the Law last week announced the appointment of Elizabeth L. Hillman as the school's new academic dean. Not only is Hillman an experienced legal and military scholar, and a veteran of the Air Force, she also happens to be a lesbian, married to her wife Trish Culbert, and raising five children in their Berkeley home.

Hillman joined the UC Hastings faculty in 2007, after earning her PhD in history and JD from Yale Law School, according to the university's press release. Hillman is also president of the National Institute for Military Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting fairness and public understanding of military justice worldwide, and is co-legal director of the Palm Center, a military-policy think tank that was instrumental in bringing about the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Hillman has testified before Congress, and served as an expert in trials surrounding military law, history, and culture. 

"Beth Hillman will make an outstanding leader of UC Hastings’ academic program,” said Professor Aaron Rappaport, vice-chair of the University's search committee, in a statement. "She is a widely respected scholar in military law and history, and one of our most popular teachers. She is also deeply engaged in the College’s strategic planning work, which will ensure continuity in the College's efforts to create one of the nation’s top institutions of legal education. On a personal level, Beth is a person of real integrity and warmth, and she has the overwhelming support of the faculty. This is truly an exciting time to be at UC Hastings."

"I'm excited about the opportunity to shape the academic future of UC Hastings," said Hillman in the statement. "[It's] a law school with a storied history, global reach, and deep commitment to public service. I hope we can continue to use the tremendous legal and intellectual capacity of the College to translate scholarship into public understanding and policy reform, meet the demand for legal education among 21st-century professionals, and prepare our students to thrive in a diverse legal profession."

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