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Married lesbian named Academic Dean at UC Hastings

SAN FRANCISCO – Elizabeth L. Hillman, a respected scholar in military law and history who was part of the fight to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," has been appointed Academic Dean at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

Effective July 1, 2012, Hillman will replace Shauna Marshall, who is retiring after eight years.

Hillman lives in Berkeley, Calif., with her wife Trish Culbert and their five children.

"As the chief Academic officer of the college, the new Academic Dean of UC Hastings must be ready to tackle a wide array of issues with a keen eye to looking to the future of academics, scholarship and the financial viability of the institution," said Marci Dragun '86, vice chair of the UC Hastings board of directors and search chair. "Given her background as a productive scholar, her experiences in the public and non-profit sectors, her active engagement in school activities, and her temperament and military training, Professor Beth Hillman has the personal qualities and skills needed to be an effective leader as Academic Dean. We look forward to her tenure in that role."

Professor Aaron Rappaport, search vice-chair, cited Hillman’s skills.

"Beth Hillman will make an outstanding leader of UC Hastings' academic program," he said. "She is a widely respected scholar in military law and history, and one of our most popular teachers. She is also deeply engaged in the College's strategic planning work, which will ensure continuity in the College's efforts to create one of the nation's top institutions of legal education. On a personal level, Beth is a person of real integrity and warmth, and she has the overwhelming support of the faculty. This is truly an exciting time to be at UC Hastings."

In the fall of 2007, Hillman arrived at UC Hastings from Rutgers University College of the Law-Camden with a reputation as an inspiring teacher and astute observer of public policy, law, and the U.S. military.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to shape the academic future of UC Hastings, a law school with a storied history, global reach, and deep commitment to public service. I hope we can continue to use the tremendous legal and intellectual capacity of the College to translate scholarship into public understanding and policy reform, meet the demand for legal education among 21st-century professionals, and prepare our students to thrive in a diverse legal profession," Hillman said.

Frank H. Wu, chancellor and dean, praised the choice of Hillman.

"Beth Hillman has shown how practical she is," said. "As a lawyer and historian, as well as military veteran, she has set the example of producing engaged scholarship. Her writing and speaking has helped change important public policy. At UC Hastings, she has led the implementation of our strategic plan. I look forward to serving with her, and I believe she is the perfect new leader of academics at UC Hastings."

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., Hillman attended Duke University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, earned a degree in electrical engineering, and served as a space operations officer and orbital analyst in Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base, Colorado Springs. She taught history at the U.S. Air Force Academy and at Yale University, where she earned a PhD in history and JD from Yale Law School before joining the faculty at Rutgers, where she won awards for teaching, research, and service to the university community.

Hillman is president of the National Institute for Military Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting fairness in and public understanding of military justice worldwide, and is co-legal director of the Palm Center, a public policy research institute that played a key role in ending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of discriminating against gay men and lesbians in the U.S. armed forces.

She has published two books, Military Justice Cases and Materials (2d ed. 2012, LexisNexis, with Eugene R. Fidell and Dwight H. Sullivan) and Defending America: Military Culture and the Cold War Court-Martial (Princeton University Press, 2005), and many articles, the most recent a chapter titled "Sexual Violence in State Militaries" in Prosecuting International Sex Crimes (Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law, 2012). Her current research concerns the law and politics of aerial bombing, military sexual violence, veterans' claims and benefits, and trust administration (she is a bar review lecturer on California wills and trusts). She has testified before Congress and as an expert at trial about military law, history, and culture, topics about which she frequently writes and speaks.