Patricia Timmons-Goodson has been named as the next dean of North Carolina Central University’s School of Law.

Timmons-Goodson, a retired North Carolina Supreme Court associate justice, will begin her new duties as NCCU’s school of law dean on July 1, according to a university press release.

Timmons-Goodson’s appointment follows the sudden passing of former dean of  Browne C. Lewis, who was tapped to lead the law school on July 1, 2020, weeks after the police murder of George Floyd, amid global protests and calls for racial justice. Lewis died last year while attending a conference in Colorado, school officials said.

Timmons-Goodson was appointed to the state’s supreme court by former governor Michael Easley in January, 2006.

In addition to being the first Black woman to sit on the state’s highest court, Timmons-Goodson was the fourth woman to serve as an associate justice when former governor Easley appointed her to the position. 

“The state’s citizens overwhelmingly affirmed her appointment by later electing her to a full term,” according to the NCCU release.

“I’m very elated that former North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson will be joining our team at NCCU and look forward to working with her and her team as we advance the mission of the law school by preparing a significant cadre of the nation’s future jurists,” David H. Jackson, Jr., N.C. Central’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, stated in the release.

The celebrated retired associate justice earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the UNC-Chapel Hill. She later earned a Master of Laws degree from Duke University’s Law School.

Timmons-Goodson began her legal career as a prosecutor and later as a legal-aid lawyer. She was 29 when she was appointed a district court judge and subsequently elected three times — twice without opposition, according to the release.

 In 1997, she was appointed as an associate judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. 

One year later, a historic and successful 1998 statewide campaign earned Timmons-Goodson a full term and “ marked the first occasion that an African American woman was elected to an appellate court in North Carolina,” according to the release.

School officials say Timmons-Goodson, “will be tasked with elevating the School of Law’s visibility, attractiveness and sustainability as an institution that prepares ‘practice ready’ law graduates who excel at the bar examination.”

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