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10/15/2018 6:49:00 PM
Valparaiso Law School pens deal with Tennessee university to possibly move

Joyce Russell, Times of Northwest Indiana

VALPARAISO —  Valparaiso University's law school may take on southern roots.

The university's board of directors and the board of trustees of Middle Tennessee State University announced recently they have approved an agreement to transfer the law school to Middle Tennessee State University's Murfreesboro campus and create a College of Law at the university, according to a press release from MTSU.

The proposal now goes to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for consideration. 

Valparaiso President Mark Heckler praised the work of the "dedicated teams from Valparaiso and MTSU that have worked diligently during many months" to ready the proposal, according to the news release.

Heckler hinted of such a transfer nearly a year ago when he gathered law school students and staff together in November 2017 to announce the Valparaiso law school was no longer financially stable and would be making changes, including ending new enrollment and searching for a partner or relocating the school to an under-served area.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said the agreement approved by trustees "sets out the conditions under which the transfer of the law school will occur."

"It makes clear that we are not purchasing the law school or its assets, although we will reimburse Valparaiso for some expenses that it will incur on our behalf during the transfer period," he said. 

"We have been in discussions with Valparaiso University since November of 2017, and I tell you this because I want to make clear that we have gone to great lengths to assure that this opportunity is in the best interests of MTSU, the city of Murfreesboro, and the citizens of Middle Tennessee," McPhee said. 

"I’m pleased that the Valparaiso University Board of Directors and the board of Middle Tennessee State University have voted in favor of the educational collaboration agreement," said Valparaiso Board Chair Frederick G. Kraegel. "This is an important step forward in the review process, which now moves to approval from the accrediting bodies."

"I’m confident this agreement will continue the great legacy of Valparaiso University Law School and serve an area of the country without an accredited, public law school," Kraegel said.

"I am truly grateful for their work, along with the continued dedication of the Valparaiso Law School faculty and staff, who we hope will have the opportunity to continue their good work together," Heckler said. "Throughout this arduous process, our goal has remained clear: to ensure the proud legacy, values, and core ethos of Valparaiso University Law School remain in place for future generations."

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