Edward F. Lawlor, PhD, dean and the William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, has announced his decision to conclude his deanship on June 30, 2016.
Lawlor, who has served as dean since 2004, will remain at the university as the Gordon Professor, and a national search for his successor as dean will be conducted, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.
“No one in America has served more effectively as the most senior leader of a school of social work and public health during Eddie’s years of service,” Wrighton said. “He crafted a compelling plan for this era that has already been implemented in substantial measure, and with great success.
“He is leaving a remarkable legacy of excellence, and I personally thank him for his many invaluable contributions,” Wrighton said. “Not only has Eddie led the Brown School with extraordinary vision, he has also been a very important leader more broadly and has added enormously to the progress of Washington University.”
During his tenure, Lawlor has led the Brown School through a period of significant growth that culminates this fall with the dedication of Hillman Hall, a new facility that more than doubles the school’s space for teaching, research and community engagement. Under his leadership, the school’s faculty has grown significantly, its research program has doubled, and new degree programs, including a dual master of social policy/master of arts with Fudan University in Shanghai, China, have been created.
Lawlor played a critical role in the 2008 launch of the university’s Institute for Public Health, and served as its founding director for five years concurrent with his term as dean. He has had a significant impact on shaping the engagement between the university and the St. Louis community, with a particular emphasis on identifying areas of academic interest to faculty and researchers that also meet the needs of local organizations and individuals.
“We are deeply grateful to Eddie for his years of service to the Brown School and Washington University,” said Provost Holden Thorp, PhD. “We thank him not only for his leadership and talent, but also for his tremendous vision in guiding the Brown School to its extraordinary level of excellence. Eddie is a tireless champion of outstanding faculty, great scholarship and engaged teaching.”
Prior to assuming leadership of the Brown School, Lawlor served as dean of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, where he also taught at the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies; was a senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics; and was a core faculty member in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. A distinguished scholar in health policy, Lawlor’s academic expertise is focused on Medicare policy, urban health systems and social services.
“Leading the Brown School has been the privilege of my life,” Lawlor said. “To participate in the growth and change of the past decade has been exhilarating. For personal reasons, this is the right time to make this change, and I am confident that the school is poised for its next great run.”
Lawlor has been active in many national and local boards during his term as dean, including the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, Oasis National and the St. Louis Board of Health.
A graduate of Bowdoin College with a bachelor’s degree in economics, government and legal studies, Lawlor earned his doctorate from the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis University in 1985, after serving for five years as a research associate at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Thorp will lead an upcoming search committee to identify Lawlor’s successor.