2022 – Jennifer Rosato Perea

As one of the first Latina law school deans in the United States, Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea has been a trailblazer in her field.  

Dean Jenn has served as a dean for over 15 years. Her first deanship was as acting dean of Kline Drexel School of Law in its first year of operation. From there, she was the Dean of Northern Illinois University School of Law for six years before moving to DePaul University College of Law in 2015. She earned her Juris Doctorate in 1987 from the University of Pennsylvania, and her expertise includes bioethics, legal ethics, and family law.  

Throughout her career, Dean Jenn has not only been committed to maintaining the academic excellence of each institution she served but also fostering that excellency and a commitment to giving back to the community in each individual student. During her time at DePaul, she has created programs and instituted reforms that have increased the bar passage rate and the admissions requirements as well as the school’s national ranking, all while continuing to nurture the law school’s longstanding commitment to public service. Most notably, Dean Jenn has increased DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives at the school in a meaningful and impactful way.  

In addition to incorporating DEI modules and 1L service day into the mandatory curriculum at DePaul, Dean Jenn has created mentoring programs for diverse students to connect with practicing attorneys, and she has partnered with several pipeline programs to increase knowledge and access to the legal field for underrepresented groups. Some of these partnerships are with the MLER bar prep program and the Chicago Committee for Minorities in Law Firms. Furthermore, Dean Jenn’s initiative extends to educating the staff and faculty at the law school on issues of diversity and inclusion through a variety of workshops on the topic. 

Dean Jenn’s initiatives go beyond the role of an administrator. In her students, she sees the “hopefulness and promise” of a new generation of leaders, and she truly believes in fostering leadership and community engagement in her students through leading by example.