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Message from the Dean: Retirement of Scott Bice

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Dear Gould Community,
 

Prof. Scott Bice and Barbara Bice
I write today to share the news that Professor Scott Bice has informed me he plans to retire next January. While this is an exciting time for Scott and Barbara, it is indeed a bittersweet moment for all of us.  Their guiding presence has been a welcome fixture at the law school for countless members of our community throughout the years, and we will miss not seeing them both on a regular basis.
 
As you all know, Scott is a former Dean and beloved professor, whose name is synonymous with the Gould School of Law. The challenge of capturing Scott’s profound and enduring impact in this message is beyond my abilities, so I will limit myself to giving a glimpse of how he has mattered to us all. Scott has been making the law school a better place for more than 50 years and his time as a Trojan goes back 60 years, including his USC undergraduate days.
 
The law school fell into very good fortune in 1969 when Scott decided to return to his alma mater and serve on our faculty following his clerkship with Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. He went on to become Gould’s Academic Dean (in the early 1970s) and then Dean (from 1980-2000). As Dean, Scott built upon the momentum of his predecessor, Dean Dorothy Nelson, and cemented Gould’s stature in terms of our national prominence. 
 
Though Scott will be remembered fondly for many valuable lessons inside the classroom and many tangible successes as Dean, what may be most impressive is the way in which he achieved them — the type of leader he chose to be.  
 
Scott led (and still leads) by example.  He has shown genuine care for his fellow faculty, staff, and students, both past and present, and he has a unique gift for making those around him feel supported.  Scott once commented that, as Dean, he saw himself as a managing partner, who served to advance the goals and interests of the Gould community, and that his primary role was to make sure the resources were in place to realize people’s vision of the school.  It was that kind of approach that earned him such respect and admiration, and it was also a common thread woven into every one of his accomplishments.
 
Legacy of Transformative Change

It is no exaggeration to say that Scott played an instrumental role in transforming the law school — educationally, economically, and physically.  In large part, this was thanks to Scott’s ability to be a true facilitator; helping others do what they hoped to accomplish.
 
Under Scott’s deanship, the law school established 25 new endowed faculty positions.  He was able to attract, grow, and retain top interdisciplinary scholars from across the country. He helped build an environment where faculty could thrive, providing the institutional support which allowed them to pursue research endeavors as well as important efforts they felt strongly about, including diversity initiatives.
 
In addition, he reshaped the school financially, increasing Gould’s endowment more than twenty-fold. When Scott completed his time as Dean, it had reached $130 million.  At the root of his visionary fundraising efforts was the focus on enriching academic quality and the academic experience for Gould students.  These new funds enabled the law school to establish new centers, expand our clinical programs, and increase student scholarships.
 
Another of Scott’s hallmarks was the physical evolution of the school, from upgrading technology to doubling the size of our facilities.  As Dean, he oversaw the 65,000-square-foot expansion of the Musick law building. The new extension included dedicated spaces we now enjoy as our faculty lounge and staff lounge.
 
Last but certainly not least, Scott has had a transformative effect inside the classroom, as most who have taken his Torts class will attest.  He has guided thousands of students, launching countless people into outstanding legal careers. A few even became law school deans themselves. He has a special knack for connecting with his students and getting the best out of them. Scott has twice received the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor presented by the University to faculty.  He is a past recipient of the law school’s William A. Rutter Distinguished Teaching Award as well.
 
Gratitude for Dedication and Service

While the law school indeed had the good fortune of having Scott as a professor and Dean for 50+ years, we are equally fortunate for having Barbara as his partner throughout that entire time. Her involvement and commitment have been vital to a range of successes at the law school.  Barbara has herself become a trusted advisor, advocate, and supporter at Gould.  She has opened their home and graciously hosted events for faculty and students over the years, treating everyone with an abundance of kindness and respect. The recent naming of the Barbara F. Bice Public Interest Law Foundation in her honor is just one indication of her importance to Gould. 
 
It remains difficult to imagine Gould without Scott and Barbara. What is easier to do is to thank both of them for all they have done for us: Thank you both so much!
 
More formal plans to celebrate and thank the Bices are in the works, and we will be delighted to share those details as soon as they are finalized. In the meantime, please join me in wishing Scott and Barbara all the best as they head into a wonderful new chapter of their lives.
 
Sincerely,
 
Andrew T. Guzman
Dean and Carl Mason Franklin Chair in Law and Professor of Law and Political Science

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