Former Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn, right, with former National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby at the organization's annual conference in San Diego, California, on October 19, 2015. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Education | Law

Chickasaw citizen Kevin Washburn named dean of law school in Iowa




Kevin Washburn, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, is making history once again in academic circles.

Washburn, who led the Bureau of Indian Affairs during the Obama administration, has been tapped as the new dean of the University of Iowa College of Law. He is the first Native American to serve in the role at the school.

“The Iowa Law faculty is terrific and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the entire Iowa Law community to prepare students to meet the increasingly serious challenges facing Iowa and the world,” Washburn said in a news release.

Washburn previously made history when he became dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law way back in 2009. He was the first Native person there as well, as well as the first Native dean of any school of law in the U.S.


Since then, at least two other Native persons have served as law school deans. In 2011, Stacy Leeds, a Cherokee Nation citizen, became dean at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Though she will be leaving this year, she made history as the first Native woman law school dean.

In 2016, James Anaya was named dean at the University of Colorado Boulder Law School. He is of Apache and Purepecha ancestry.