Dean Wilson named Interim President, two interim co-deans named


We are so excited and proud to announce that Akron Law Dean, Matthew J. Wilson, has been selected by our Board of Trustees to serve as Interim President of The University of Akron for the next 18 months.

Based on his outstanding accomplishments as our Dean and his proven ability to move the law school forward over the past two years, Interim President Wilson will be an outstanding and effective leader for the University. Under his leadership, Akron Law’s applications and enrollment have increased by over 30%, employment rates among our graduates are well above the national average, and our building renovation project is well underway. As Interim President, he intends to replicate this success at the university level.

Wilson will remain on the law school faculty and will continue to work closely with the law school, especially on our international offerings, including our dual country, tri-city study abroad program in Japan and South Korea. To assist in bolstering our international presence and offerings, Professor Pat Gaughan will serve as the new Assistant Dean for Global Engagement.


Read Matthew Wilson's remarks upon being named interim president

Office of the President

In his new role, Wilson looks forward to working together with University students, faculty, staff and alums to not only conquer existing challenges and rebuild relationships, but also to innovate and explore new opportunities based on feedback received from faculty, students, and the community. As he works on developing a sustainable budget, increasing enrollment, further improving student retention, strengthening relationships with various University constituencies, and growing the University’s development efforts, Wilson invites everyone to unite with him in furthering this mission. 

Interim leadership of Akron Law

These are exciting times for the University and for Akron Law as we continue to distinguish ourselves as a leader in the field of legal education. As we continue moving Akron Law forward on our current path of success, Akron Law Professors Sarah Cravens and Ryan Vacca have been appointed as Interim Co-Deans.

Deans Cravens and Vacca are both already skilled leaders with experience in many different aspects of the law school, and they appreciate the challenges we face and the opportunities that exist for us to become even stronger.

Graduate at commencement.Interim Co-Dean Sarah Cravens has been at Akron Law since 2005.  She comes to this position having been slated to take on the role of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs this August.  Over the past few years, she has been actively engaged with all aspects of admissions and recruiting efforts at Akron Law. In her role as Assistant Dean for Global Engagement, she has also been closely involved with our international programs – indeed this week she heads off to teach in and jointly lead the inaugural session of our summer study abroad program in Japan and South Korea.

Throughout her time at Akron Law, Dean Cravens has also actively participated in Alumni events as a regular teacher of our CLE programs and a frequent participant in the Winter Institute. Dean Cravens earned her A.B., magna cum laude, from Princeton University, her M. Phil from Cambridge University, and her J.D., magna cum laude, from Washington & Lee University, where she was Senior Articles Editor of the Washington & Lee Law Review.

Prior to joining the faculty, Dean Cravens served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and was an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C. In addition to Torts, she also teaches Professional Responsibility, Remedies, and Judicial Ethics. Dean Cravens previously served as Director of Faculty Research & Development.  Her areas of scholarly interest include the judicial role, legal ethics, and theology & law.

Ryan VaccaInterim Co-Dean Ryan Vacca has been a professor at Akron Law since 2010.  Over the last several years, he has served in various leadership roles at the law school, including Director of Akron Law’s nationally-renowned Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology and Director of Faculty Research and Development.  Dean Vacca is a highly-regarded teacher and award-winning scholar whose research has been recognized across the world.  His research focuses on intellectual property law and covers a wide variety of topics and industries, including 3D printing, genetically modified food, patent reform efforts, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, empirical studies, the music industry, and healthcare. 

At Akron Law, Dean Vacca has taught Fundamentals of Intellectual Property, Copyrights, Trade Secrets, and Contracts.  Prior to joining the Akron Law faculty, he served as a visiting professor at the University of Oregon and University of Denver. 

He earned his B.A. from Amherst College in Computer Science as well as Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought; his J.D. from the University of Missouri School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif and served as the Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Dispute Resolution; and his LL.M. in intellectual property from New York University School of Law.

Prior to entering academia, Dean Vacca was an attorney at Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP (now Stinson Leonard Street LLP) in St. Louis, where he specialized in intellectual property and products liability law.