FIRE Faculty Director Daniel Kelly appointed Dean of University of St. Thomas School of Law

Dan Kelly

Daniel Kelly, Notre Dame Law School Professor and Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate Faculty Director, has been named the dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Kelly will begin his role on July 1, 2024.

“Professor Kelly is one of the nation’s leading scholars of law and economics, and a leading thinker with respect to property and real estate,” said G. Marcus Cole, the Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School. “He has been an outstanding educator, dedicated to the Catholic mission of Notre Dame, and to the whole formation of our students. He is also a dear personal friend of mine. Although his absence will be deeply felt, we know that he will be a remarkable leader and a transformative dean. As he embarks on this new chapter, he goes with our heartfelt prayers for God’s blessings for him, his family, and his work.”

Kelly joined the Law School faculty in 2009. He teaches and writes in the areas of property law, real estate, trusts and estates, and law and economics. His research includes the economic analysis of property rights, including the acquisition and assembly of land for development, the division and use of property through contracts, leases, and trusts, and the transfer of property at death. He is the director of the Law School’s Program on Law & Economics, a faculty fellow of the Program on Law and Market Behavior, and the faculty advisor of the Program of Study in Real Estate Law.

In addition, Kelly is the founding director of the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate—an interdisciplinary, University-wide initiative. The Institute brings together faculty, students, and alumni across several colleges, fostering collaborative research on real estate investment, development, and law; housing and urban economics; real estate technology and construction; and Church properties. Kelly has led the Fitzgerald Institute for seven years—recruiting faculty, launching new courses and an undergraduate minor, developing interdisciplinary research and industry partnerships, engaging with alumni and benefactors, and working to make Notre Dame the best place in the country to study real estate.

Before joining the faculty at Notre Dame, Kelly was a judicial clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City, and a research fellow at Yale and Harvard. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his juris doctor from Harvard Law School.

In making the announcement St. Thomas President Rob Vischer said, “The challenges of today’s society cannot be solved in silos, and Dan Kelly’s track record with interdisciplinary approaches makes him a perfect fit for helping St. Thomas to advance its mission. Bringing together minds from various areas and industries propels innovation, and Dan will use that approach to steward our law school students, faculty and staff to new levels of success.”

In reflecting on his time at the University of Notre Dame, Kelly stated: “Notre Dame has, and always will have, a special place in my heart. When I returned to my alma mater as a law professor in 2009, I had high hopes for the Law School and University. I have not been disappointed. My colleagues are the best, not only as exceptional colleagues but also as true friends; our students are stellar; our alumni and supporters have a passion that drives Notre Dame to new heights; and our mission as a global Catholic research university is worth fighting for.”

Kelly added: “Over the last 15 years, I have experienced so many good memories and built many lifelong friendships in the Law School, the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate, and across the University. I want to thank all of my colleagues at the Law School and Fitzgerald Institute, my dear friends Ward and Kathy Fitzgerald and Bill and Mary Ann Smith, and the University’s leadership, including Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C., Fr. Bob Dowd, C.S.C., Provosts John McGreevy and Tom Burish, Deans Marcus Cole, Nell Newton, and Patty O’Hara, and Associate Deans Randy Kozel, Nicole Garnett, and Rick Garnett, for among other things hiring me, supporting and sustaining me, and providing me with examples of true leadership, courage, and service to others. As I begin a new chapter as Dean of St. Thomas School of Law, I will look to build on what I have learned from all of them including their insights and their dedication to Catholic higher education in furtherance of the common good.”

Read more about Kelly’s appointment here.