North­eastern Uni­ver­sity hosted a recep­tion on Wednesday to honor the ser­vice, ded­i­ca­tion and lead­er­ship of Emily Spieler, who stepped down as dean of the School of Law at the con­clu­sion of the aca­d­emic year. Spieler, the Edwin W. Hadley Pro­fessor of Law, has served as dean since Sep­tember 2002.

Spieler said she came to North­eastern “because of the rea­sons that made the law school spe­cial”: expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion, the oppor­tu­nity to build a col­lab­o­ra­tive envi­ron­ment and how the school nur­tures a broad under­standing of the law as a vehicle for the pur­suit of justice.

The biggest chal­lenge we face today is how to carry for­ward and build upon these fun­da­mental values while adapting to and get­ting better at addressing the prob­lems of the world in which we live today and the world we will live in tomorrow. It’s this chal­lenge that I’ve kept in my mind every moment since I arrived at North­eastern,” she said at the recep­tion, held in the Cabral Center at the John D. O’Bryant African-​​American Institute.

I came to a place that was won­derful, and together we made it better.”

Throughout the evening, speakers high­lighted Spieler’s trans­for­ma­tive impact on the School of Law and the uni­ver­sity. North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun lauded her com­mit­ment to expanding global experiential-​​learning oppor­tu­ni­ties and strength­ening the school’s ded­i­ca­tion to public-​​interest law and social justice.

We’re delighted you’re going to stay here, because your wisdom, your lead­er­ship and your prin­ci­ples will always be with us, and you’re going to con­tinue to embody them,” Aoun said.

Spieler was also her­alded for recruiting top fac­ulty, glob­al­izing edu­ca­tion and research and under­standing the value in building inter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tions aimed at solving society’s greatest chal­lenges. Noted were her efforts to build new pro­grams such as the Civil Rights and Restora­tive Jus­tice Project and sus­tain existing pro­grams like the Domestic Vio­lence Insti­tute and the Public Health Advo­cacy Insti­tute.

Spieler also dra­mat­i­cally expanded the law school’s inter­na­tional reach by hiring fac­ulty with an inter­na­tional and immi­gra­tion law focus, expanding the inter­na­tional law cur­riculum and working to found the Pro­gram on Human Rights in the Global Economy. This fall, the School of Law will also wel­come the first class in its LLM (master of laws) pro­gram for for­eign law grad­u­ates.

In addi­tion to recruiting fac­ulty with joint appoint­ments in other col­leges, Spieler built strategic alliances with other higher-​​education insti­tu­tions that have enabled North­eastern stu­dents to pursue joint degrees in law and public health, envi­ron­mental law and policy and sus­tain­able development.

Law pro­fessor James R. Hackney Jr. said Spieler brought to the law school a rare com­bi­na­tion of tire­less energy, grit, pas­sion and com­pas­sion. He praised her for being a bril­liant strate­gist with the ability to guide and inspire fac­ulty through the process of self-​​realization.

You have suc­cess­fully brought out the best of us as a com­mu­nity and cre­ated a momentum that will propel us for­ward,” Hackney said. “As a fac­ulty col­league, I hope you will con­tinue to chal­lenge and moti­vate us.”