Stephen L. Ball has made history as the first Black man to be named dean of students at Harvard Law School, C & G News reported.
Ball is just the second Black person to serve in the role, the first was a Black woman.
As the new dean, Ball will mentor and support students who are enrolled in the law school and develop student enrichment programs. Also, he will help students prepare for the bar application process, connect them to resources and arrange events on campus.
In an interview, Ball said that diversity is a crucial part of his vocation as he’s set to lead the nation’s oldest operating law school.
“Diversity is a touchstone part of my experience in Southfield,” Ball said. “Although I’m obviously African American myself, growing up, I did not fully appreciate how special it was to be in a community composed primarily of middle-class African Americans, while also living alongside people of other diverse backgrounds. You don’t find that kind of environment in many other places across the country.
A native of Southfield, Michigan, Ball noted that the city of his birth shaped his perspective of inclusion and he hopes to bring that to Harvard Law.
“Southfield offered a rich mosaic of ethnic, racial, and economic diversity, all situated alongside the larger sphere of Detroit’s unique history and complex socio-economic dynamics. Its unique diversity influenced me in my formative years, and it continues to shape my perception of how people from different backgrounds can all coexist, live and thrive together,” he said. “At HLS, I will serve and represent all students—nearly 2,000 total—and these are students from across the country and around the world, coming from all walks of life.”
A graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s of public policy, Ball earned a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law in 2010.
Jessica Soban, the dean for student services at Harvard Law School added that students will benefit greatly from Ball's expertise.
“Our dean of students plays such an integral role in our community, helping shape the student experience and providing support and mentorship to our students, from orientation to commencement,” Soban said. “Stephen brings tremendous experience and a genuine commitment to our students, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to Harvard Law School and to our student services team.”
Ball with begin his tenure as dean of students of Harvard Law School on March 7.