IU McKinney School of Law Dean Emeritus Gary Roberts tapped to lead Bradley University

  • Oct. 16, 2015


INDIANAPOLIS -- The Bradley University Board of Trustees announced today that Bradley alumnus and former Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Dean Gary R. Roberts will become the 11th president of Bradley University, effective January 2016.

Doug Stewart, chairman of the Bradley board of trustees, says Roberts is the right choice to lead Bradley. "Gary is a forward-thinking, innovative and proven leader who understands Bradley from the inside out. He has extensive experience that makes him uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of moving Bradley forward."

Roberts graduated from Bradley in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with minors in history and speech. He received his J.D. in 1975 from Stanford University. He is considered one of the foremost sports-law experts and scholars in the country. 

"This is an amazing thing for me -- to return as president to the university where my adult life and career began a half-century ago," Roberts said. "But I will be sad to leave the McKinney School and the Indianapolis community, where over the past eight-and-a-half years I have made so many friends, worked with so many wonderful colleagues and made so many wonderful memories. I would not leave if it were not for such a remarkably unique opportunity."

It was during Roberts' tenure as dean that the law school received the transformational gift that resulted in the naming of the school after local attorney, businessman and civic leader Robert H. McKinney.

"Gary did an outstanding job as our dean and helped move the law school forward," says current McKinney School of Law Dean Andrew R. Klein. "We are proud of him and wish him all the best in his new position. Bradley is fortunate to have someone of his caliber as its new president." 

Roberts, the Gerald L. Bepko Professor of Law at the McKinney School, which is on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus, counts the hiring of 16 new faculty members during his term as dean (2007-2013) as one of the accomplishments of which he is most proud.

"We hired the school's first Professor of Practice, former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan; the first chair-holder, Xuan-Thao Nguyen; a new director of our Hall Center for Law and Health, Nicolas Terry; and many other outstanding faculty members. I am truly proud to have been a part of bringing this exemplary group of professors to IU McKinney Law."

Prior to being appointed dean in 2007, Roberts spent 24 years at Tulane University Law School serving as vice dean, deputy dean, the Sumter Davis Marks Professor of Business Law and founding director of the first sports-law program established in the United States. Immediately after graduating from Stanford Law School in 1975, he clerked for Judge Ben Duniway of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco for a year before going into private practice with the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. He began his academic career in higher education at Tulane in 1983.

Roberts has continued to practice law part-time throughout his academic career, with a focus on antitrust and sports law. He has been a frequent commentator on broadcast and in print media on sports-related legal and business issues. He was the on-air legal analyst for the NFL Network and a lead analyst for other national media outlets during the National Football League lockout in 2011. He has testified before congressional committees on nine occasions on sports matters. Roberts also is an arbitrator with the Court of Arbitration of Sport, and as such attended the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. Currently, he is of counsel with the Indianapolis firm Bose McKinney & Evans.

In 2011, Roberts was the Graduate School commencement speaker at Bradley. While a student, he was an active member of the debate team, was one of the four members of the five-time undefeated College Bowl team, and was continuously involved in student government, being president of his sophomore class, student-body treasurer during his junior year, and a member of the student Supreme Court his senior year. 

"I grew to love Bradley as an undergraduate student," Roberts said. "It was then, and continues to be, a wonderful place for young adults to learn, to grow and mature, and to transition into full adulthood. Bradley is a jewel in so many ways."

Roberts said he is honored, excited and humbled to be the next president of such a wonderful and prestigious institution. "It is a challenging time for higher education, especially for midsized private institutions such as Bradley," he said. "I approach this job with total commitment, determination and enthusiasm. And I know that my wife, Donna Carr Roberts, is equally excited and anxious to become part of the Bradley family and an active member of the Peoria community."

Stan Liberty will continue to serve as Bradley's interim president until Roberts assumes the role of president. Roberts replaces Joanne Glasser, who retired from Bradley earlier this year. 

Founded by Lydia Moss Bradley in 1897, Bradley University is a private, independent university in Peoria, Ill., offering undergraduate, graduate and continuing-education programs in the liberal and fine arts, the sciences, business, communications, education, engineering, technology, and the health sciences.

Gary R. Roberts

Gary R. Roberts

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Diane Brown
Elizabeth Allington