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Widener University’s Delaware Law School formally separates from Harrisburg campus

Tom Byrne/Delaware Public Media
New Widener Univ. Delaware Law School dean Rod Smolla speaks to staff as school celebrates it split for Harrisburg campus

The First State’s only law school is opening a new chapter in its history.

Widener University’s Delaware Law School Wednesday celebrated its official separation from Widener’s other law campus in Harrisburg, PA.

Delaware Law also welcomed its new dean, Rod Smolla.


Smolla says the law school’s new name and branding is a significant step - but there also needs to be a commitment to the mission behind it.


"But we all know that ultimately substance and symbol are meaningless if the substance is not there to back up the symbol. And the things we stand for symbolically, our identities and so on, don’t mean anything if there’s not real, genuine authenticity and quality underneath it," said Smolla.

Smolla adds as the First State’s only law school, Delaware Law needs to be a major part of the community in Delaware - as well as the region and beyond.

The new dean takes over from interim dean Erin Daly, who helped shepherd the school through the transition into its own law school.

“We’ve been Delaware’s law school for a long time, but we haven’t the name or the opportunity to really show it off in that way and to really entrench ourselves in Delaware.  It’s a great opportunity for Delaware to re-get to know us and for us to get to know Delaware a little more and really entrench those relationships,” says Daly.


She adds the move to split from Harrisburg will allow Delaware Law’s leadership to focus on the programs on its North Wilmington campus in areas like corporate and environmental law.  She also anticipates the school, which opened in 1971, will bolster its connections to the First State legal community.

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