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Mark Gordon
Mark Gordon

2019 Diversity & Inclusion: Mark Gordon

While dean of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Mark Gordon launched an innovative program aimed at increasing diversity in the legal profession.

Called the Mitchell Hamline Gateway to Legal Education, the program offers free online credit courses on a substantive area of law to upper-level undergraduates at colleges primarily serving students of color. The idea to get those students interested in pursuing law, Gordon said.

In its initial year, the Gateway program offered a course on health law to students at Delaware State University, an historically black college. Gordon said there are plans to expand the Gateway program to at least a second college and add a second course during 2019-20.

Over time, the Gateway program may grow to serve scores of minority students across the country, Gordon said. “We would hope that a good number of them would decide to apply to Mitchell Hamline,” he said. “And if they apply elsewhere, that is still a positive.”

Besides the Gateway program, Gordon has promoted diversity and inclusion at the student and faculty levels at Mitchell Hamline. The law school has significantly increased its diversity enrollment: About 25 percent (100 students) of its freshman classes in 2017 and 2018 were students of color or indigenous background.

In another area, Mitchell Hamline in 2017 adopted a strategic plan to double the number of diverse faculty within five years. “We were on track each of the first two years to meet that goal,” Gordon said.

On June 30, Gordon stepped down as dean and began a yearlong sabbatical to create a mentoring program for students of color and teens aging out of foster care. He plans to return the following year to teach at Mitchell Hamline and continue his mentoring activities.

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