Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law alumna and former dean and professor Susanah M. Mead has died, the school announced Thursday.
Mead died Dec. 23 at the age of 70, the school said. She was a 1976 graduate of the Indianapolis law school, where she returned to begin a legal education career in 1978 after clerking for two years for former Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Paul H. Buchanan.
Mead’s service to the law school included positions as a legal writing instructor, professor of torts and product liability and director of the legal writing program. She also created the Dean’s Tutorial Society, which was one of the first organized, volunteer law school peer-tutoring programs in the country.
After being named associated dean for academic affairs in 1997, Mead began to work on the capital campaign that led to the construction of Lawrence W. Inlow Hall. She was then named interim dean of the law school in 2005, a position she held until 2007 as the first woman and alumnus to serve as dean. Mead was also one of IU McKinney’s first tenured female law professors.
“She became more than just a friend and colleague – but also a role model for how to handle even the most difficult issues with patience, thoughtfulness, and grace,” current Dean Andrew Klein, who served as associate dean for academic affairs under Mead, said in a statement. “Perhaps the core of what I learned from Susie is the importance for a leader to confront challenges head-on, and the value of doing so in an open and civil fashion.”
Aside from her work with the law school, Mead was active in Indiana’s legal community, serving as the co-chair of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Conclave on Legal Education in 2007, and on the bar’s Buchanan Award selection committee. She received multiple honors for her legal contributions, including being named as an Indianapolis Bar Foundation Distinguished Fellow in 2006, receiving the ISBA’s Presidential Citation in 2007 and being recognized as an Indiana Lawyer Leadership in Law Distinguished Barrister in 2009. IU McKinney also honored mead as it Law Alumna of the Year in 2007.
A memorial service for Mead will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle, with a reception to follow at the Woodstock Club, 1301 W. 38th St., Indianapolis. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mead’s memory to the Indiana University Foundation, P.O. Box 6460, Indianapolis, IN 46206. Her daughters, Holly, Edie and Sybil, plan to use the funds to support a scholarship for women law students at IU McKinney.