Boger announced last May he would step down as of July 2015 — one year before his five-year term ended. He said stepping down would allow a new dean to implement curricular reform initiatives, begin a capitol campaign and facilitate the American Bar Association’s upcoming accreditation.
“Although selfishly it might be fun to stay another year, the best thing for the institution is to hand the baton over,” Boger said.
Boger joined the UNC faculty in 1990 after a career in public law. He became the school’s thirteenth dean in 2006.
The staff has grown by about 40 faculty members under his leadership, and their curricular reforms, he said, give students more experiential training to help them transition from law school to law practice.
“I love being part of a team where the other people care about the mission, care about the outcomes and are pretty selfless about pursuing that,” Boger said.
His love for the team is mutual. Assistant Dean of Policy Catherine Pierce has worked with Boger for ten years. She said she has enjoyed working alongside him.
“Jack is full of integrity, and he truly understands what Carolina’s integrity requires — what the mission of Carolina Law is,” Pierce said. “He embraces that and reflects that back to the faculty, to the staff, to our alumni in everything he says, how he carries out his deanship, and it’s very much appreciated by everyone here.”
Second-year law student Billy Piontek, a member of the dean’s advisory council, said he couldn’t imagine anyone else serving as dean of the School.
“On the personal level, (his stepping down) was devastating because he is a pillar of Carolina Law,” he said. “I just can’t imagine Carolina Law without him at the helm.”
Boger will remain a member of the faculty, teaching classes in race and poverty, constitutional and educational law.
Boger went to Duke University for his undergraduate degree and then attended Yale University for divinity school and law school at UNC. Boger said someone compared his path from Duke to UNC to Dante’s “The Divine Comedy.”
“You start off in hell, the inferno — that’s Duke,” Boger said. “Then you go to divinity school to purge yourself, and (then you) come back to Chapel Hill.”
Pierce said the school will select a new dean by July, but it’s uncertain who that will be.
“I can’t imagine somebody filling Dean Boger’s shoes,” Piontek said. “You need all of this gravitas and skill and experience to do what he does, but to do that at Carolina Law, you need something a little bit more. You really need to feel Carolina Law.”