Published: May 14, 2003

The University of Colorado at Boulder announced today the appointment of Professor David Getches as dean of the CU School of Law, pending approval by the Board of Regents at its May 27 meeting.

CU-Boulder Provost Phil DiStefano said Getches would begin his duties as dean July 1.

"I am extremely pleased that Professor David Getches has accepted my offer to be dean of the law school," said DiStefano. "He brings an exceptionally strong academic record and administrative experience to this leadership position on the campus."

Getches, who has been on the faculty since 1979, is the Raphael J. Moses Professor of Natural Resources Law. He teaches and writes on water law, public land law, environmental law and Indian law.

"I have always loved my work - teaching, writing and advising," said Getches. "Now I look forward to serving the institution that has enabled my own career to be so rewarding."

Getches replaces Harold H. Bruff who is returning to teaching after seven years as head of the law school. Bruff was paramount in guiding the school through planning for a new law school building, including raising more than half the money needed for construction of the $39 million project.

"I am immensely proud and pleased that David Getches has accepted this position," commented Bruff. "He is a fine man and will make an exceptional dean for the law school."

According to Getches, one of his main goals as dean is to construct the new law school building.

"The new law school is stalled because of the state's dearth of capital construction money," explained Getches. "About half the cost is being borne by the students and private donors; most of those funds are in the bank or promised. We will be working with the provost and Chancellor Byyny on innovative plans to complete financing so we can start construction next year."

Getches is a nationally renowned expert in natural resources and Indian law issues. A prolific writer, he has published several books on water law and has written many articles and book chapters on water, natural resources and Indian rights issues that have appeared in diverse scholarly and popular publications.

From 1983 to 1987, he was executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources under Governor Richard D. Lamm. The department is responsible for the operation of 10 divisions of state government that deal with parks, wildlife, land, water and minerals. In 1996, he served as special consultant to the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Getches earned his undergraduate degree from Occidental College in California and his law degree from the University of Southern California School of Law.

He began his legal career in 1967 with the law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps in San Diego, Calif. By 1968, he was co-directing attorney for California Indian Legal Services. In 1970, he moved to Colorado to become the founding executive director for the Boulder-based Native American Rights Fund, a national, nonprofit Indian-interest law firm.

The 60-year-old Getches is married, has three children and lives in Boulder.