Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law announced that Blake Hudson will be the new dean. Provost J. Michael Hardin made the announcement on Tuesday. The appointment is effective July 1, 2022.

Dean Henry C. “Corky” Strickland has served as Cumberland School of Law’s dean since 2014. He is stepping down from the role.

“Our nationwide search brought us many qualified candidates to consider for this important position,” Hardin said in a statement. “I’m grateful for every committee member who dedicated their time to this search and I’m honored Professor Hudson has accepted the call to serve as the next dean of our Cumberland School of Law. His experience in legal education and his desire to further Samford’s mission and values will serve our university and students well as he takes on this role. We look forward to this next chapter of growth under his leadership.”

Beck A. Taylor is the President of Samford University.

“I warmly welcome Professor Hudson and his family to the Samford community,” Taylor said. “His expertise and vision for the future of legal education will be a tremendous asset to our campus community, and I look forward to working with him to enhance the invaluable impact of our Cumberland School of Law.”

Hudson was chosen following a nationwide search. He is the Samuel T. Dell Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Land Use and Real Estate Law Program at the University of Florida’s (UF) Levin College of Law.  Hudson’s research at UF has focused on the intersection of land use law, policy and planning with natural resource management, with particular emphasis on the role of forest management in combating climate change and the implications of land development for sustainable natural resource management.

“I am thrilled to join Cumberland School of Law and work with the faculty in continuing the important work of educating future lawyers,” Hudson said. “Dean Strickland’s leadership has been instrumental in shaping the law school into what it is today, and I thank him for leaving the school on such a strong footing. I look forward to working with him and other faculty, staff and students to make sure that Cumberland’s strengths—such as its nationally ranked trial advocacy program—remain top-notch while also developing new, innovative, legal education programs to meet the demands of an ever-evolving legal landscape.

“Cumberland is such a special community because not only are we teaching students how to practice law but how to be upstanding citizens carrying out Samford’s mission,” Hudson continued. “That is, to ‘act justly, love mercy and walk humbly’ (Micah 6:8). One of the things that became clear to me during my visits to campus is just how strong of a community Cumberland is, from the administration to the faculty and staff to the students.”

Hudson is a native of Grove Hill, Alabama. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology and history, with minors in prelaw and political science, from the University of Montevallo. He graduated with high honors from Duke University School of Law and received a Master of Environmental Science and Policy from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Prior to joining UF Law, Hudson held faculty roles at Stetson University College of Law, the Louisiana State University (LSU) Law Center and LSU’s College of the Coast & Environment, and the Houston Law Center. Following law school, he practiced at the law firm of Baker Botts in Houston.

Luisa Reyes is a Tuscaloosa attorney and Cumberland alumnus.

"It is exciting to see that they've found someone to fill such an important role at Cumberland,” Reyes told 1819 News. “Dean Strickland is much beloved at Cumberland.  And Dean Hudson is sure to fulfill a vital role in preparing future attorneys at Cumberland.  The fact that he has experience both in the practice of law as well as in academia gives him a broad perspective into the ever-evolving demands of the legal profession.”

The dean’s search committee was led by Douglas A. Sweeney, dean of Samford’s Beeson Divinity School, and Judge Karon O. Bowdre, a two-time Samford graduate and former member of the Board of Trustees.

Cumberland is 175 years old.

“That is a remarkably deep history,” Hudson said. "I am happy that we all get to work together to make sure Cumberland remains a pillar of legal education for many years to come.”

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