LSU Law faculty, staff, and alumni gathered at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center on Thursday, May 11, for a special reception to honor the exemplary leadership and dedicated service of Interim Dean Lee Ann Wheelis Lockridge as she prepares to hand off the reins to incoming Dean Alena Allen this summer.
“Lee Ann, your alumni appreciate all that you have done for our law school during your time as interim dean, and we want to commemorate our deep gratitude and respect for you,” said LSU Law Class of 1976 alumnus Jim Roy, who then surprised everyone in attendance by announcing the launch of a fundraising campaign to create an endowed scholarship named in Lockridge’s honor.
Lockridge was named interim dean in December 2019, shortly after then-LSU Law Dean Thomas C. Galligan Jr. was tapped to lead LSU as interim president. Though Lockridge was initially told by LSU administrators that she could expect to serve in the role for six to nine months, beginning Jan. 2, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged shortly thereafter and significantly delayed the expected timeline. By the time Allen arrives on campus and begins serving as dean in July, Lockridge will have served as interim dean for three and a half years.
Roy commended Lockridge’s steady leadership throughout the pandemic, noting her tenure has also resulted in increased student enrollment and scholarship support, the completion of the first of several room renovations to create multi-purpose classroom-to-courtroom learning spaces, the establishment of two new clinics, and the LSU Law Dean’s Council’s continuing to be the most productive annual giving program on the LSU campus, among other achievements.
LSU Executive Vice President & Provost Roy Haggerty was also on hand to honor Lockridge and said she has been as effective as an advocate for LSU Law students, faculty, staff, and alumni behind the scenes as she has been publicly.
“I can assure all of you that Dean Lockridge has been an absolutely faithful and tenacious advocate for the Law Center,” said Haggerty, who also commended Lockridge for her “deep commitment” to advancing the university’s mission to further enhance inclusivity and equity across the campus. “It has been a pleasure to work alongside you, Lee Ann, and all of us at LSU appreciate the sacrifices you have made to serve the Law Center over the past three-plus years.”
In her brief remarks, Lockridge deflected the spotlight to the many colleagues who have supported and assisted her during her time as interim dean. She also thanked her husband and two daughters, who were on hand, and said she is proud of all the Paul M. Hebert Law Center has achieved during her tenure.
“I’m not going to tell you that every single day has been an absolute joy, because we’ve had some very challenging and stressful days over the past three and a half years,” Lockridge said, who reflected on the early months of her tenure, which coincided with the onset of the pandemic, forcing LSU Law to quickly shift to accommodate fully remote learning. “But I can tell you that serving our students, faculty, staff, and alumni in this role has been one of the greatest honors and privileges of my career, and I am grateful for everyone who has supported and helped me along the way.”
Lockridge joined the LSU Law faculty in 2005, her teaching and scholarship focuses in the area of intellectual property, and she holds the David Weston Robinson Professorship, McGlinchey Stafford Professorship, and Pan American Life Insurance Company Endowed Professorship of Law.
She came to LSU Law from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she was a visiting assistant professor during the 2004–05 academic year. From 1999 to 2004, she was an intellectual-property associate at Thompson & Knight in Dallas (now Holland & Knight). Lockridge graduated summa cum laude from Southwestern University, earning a B.A. in chemistry. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the Duke University School of Law, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif. She served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Eugene E. Siler Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.