Thanks Dean Butler!

It has been an incredible five years in the history of the law school. Dean Butler bounded into the administrative suite on June 25, 2015 full of energy, ideas, and ambitious goals, asking us to never settle for “good” and always push for “best.” It would be impossible to enumerate each of the many important contributions that happened under his leadership. We witnessed the transformation of the library and creation of the leadership center, a rise in national and international recognition, the addition of new institutes and clinics, the enrollment of impressive classes, and record- breaking gifts that changed the face of the law school and the University. So much was done for our community in such a short time.

It is not only the students who have benefited from Dean Butler’s motto of “Learn. Challenge. Lead.” As associate deans, we learned, we were challenged, and it has been our sincere privilege to help lead.  

Henry, we wish you well as you return to the fourth floor and your position as Professor of Law and the Executive Director of the Law & Economics Center.  Onward and Upward!

With gratitude,

Victoria M. Huber, Associate Dean for Professional Development
Deborah M. Keene, Associate Dean, Library & Technology
Annamaria Nields, Associate Dean for Administration & Student Affairs
Rachelle Holmes Perkins, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Associate Professor of Law
Alison H. Price, Senior Associate Dean

Dean Butler soon steps down as Dean of GMU Scalia Law School. He will return his focus to the Law & Economics Center and teaching. We invite you to leave public well wishes for Dean Butler below.

56 replies on “Thanks Dean Butler!”

  1. Law school deans come and go. But Mason has a long tradition of impressive deans. Manne, Grady, Polsby, and now Butler. A difficult job in a difficult time. A challenging environment. Henry did it. A strong legacy from a memorable deanship! Keeping Scalia Great! Thank you, Sir!

  2. Because of all that you’ve built, the law school community and the broader legal community will benefit for many years to come. And your tireless work has inspired so many of us to keep building on the foundations that you’ve laid. Thank you for everything.

    All the best,
    Adam White

  3. Dear Henry:

    Thank you for being a visionary leader, prodigious fundraiser, and good friend. We are very lucky to have had you as dean, and even luckier that you will continue on at the LEC and as a faculty colleague.


  4. Thanks for the heart and mind and SOUL you poured into this place, making it stronger, and it must be said, a lot of fun! for all of us. It was a genuinely transformative deanship and the entire community will reap the benefits for many years to come. Thanks to your family too, for sharing all of you. And thanks for the innumerable personal kindnesses, cheerful encouragement and support as well.


  5. Love you Henry and Paige and are in awe and privileged to witness all of your accomplishments. Toasting You from Montana. Hugs always Monica.

  6. Thank you, Dean, for supporting adjunct professors striving to offer a diversity of courses to our students. You’ve been a great supporter. And I have enjoyed working with you. Good luck on all your new Ventures!

  7. Henry, where would we be without you? Or maybe it would be better to ask, where have we traveled with you? Onward and upward, of course! It has been an education and an honor — and fun — to follow your lead. Thank you.

  8. Grazie Henry for having gone out on a limb and hired an Italian immigrant and believing in him! Thanks for your dedication to advance the school and to support our great students!
    Best of luck to you and Paige in this next stage!

    With Gratitude!


  9. What a great 5 plus years! Look what a difference you made. You have had a positive impact on every person in this school. Faculty, students and staff have been forever touched by your leadership, dedication and friendship. You have made this school a much better and respected institution. All the best!

  10. Dear Henry,

    Thank you for entrusted me with the design of the law school’s website, identity, branding, and the slogan “Learn. Challenge. Lead.” I had the pleasure of working with you and Paige in the last five years. Thank you for pushing the law school to another level with your tireless work. I wish you all the best and you know where to find me.

  11. Thank you, Henry, for everything you have done for our law school! You’ve dedicated countless hours toward improving everyone’s experience—fundraising for vital resources, increasing our visibility, connecting with students, providing necessary leadership—all with unparalleled enthusiasm, kindness, and joy. You have been an inspiration to us all. And, most personally, thank you for believing in me.


  12. Thank you sincerely for your brilliance, dedication, and exemplary leadership, Dean Butler. We all are so blessed to know you. May every blessing come to you and Scalia Law.

  13. Dean Butler, you and Paige have made an impact on the Law School in a way that no other partnership either before or after you can ever achieve! Thanks for your energy, passion, and relentless commitment to excellence. It will be my honor to try at least partially to fill the huge shoes you’re leaving. Delighted you will continue to lead the globally renowned Law & Econmics Center and to serve on the Law Faculty.

  14. What a great tribute! You’ve been the best law school dean in America and PERC is proud to have you as one of its own as well. Congratulations on a job well done. Of course, I know all your success goes back to your days in Coral Gables. Go Canes!

  15. Congratulations Henry. As Nuno noted you took over as dean after a string of exceedingly successful deanships. As Big Henry never tired of telling me that success was accomplished by the powers of levitation, i.e. very low status and even less money. I frankly worried whether you, or anyone, could have extended the run. I needn’t have feared. Thanks to you and Paige we have made extraordinary advances, and can now add to levitation money to power our success You have accomplished much to raise the actual and perceived status of this extraordinary law school in a difficult environment. Big Henry would be proud!


  16. Your accomplishments speak for themselves, Henry, and it would be impertinent for me to think I could praise them more effectively than others already have. I will add only a grateful acknowledgment of the sacrifices you’ve made in order to perform this job over the last five years. The fact that those sacrifices are less visible than your accomplishments does not make them less real.

  17. Thank you for your vision, leadership, and tireless enthusiasm for our students. We are beyond lucky to have had you at the helm these past five years.

  18. Henry – you did an amazing job advancing a unique law school that matters in ways few do and making both legal education and the legal profession better as a results. Henry Manne is no doubt smiling at how well you did with his legacy. Take a victory lap and then get back to work at the LEC continuing the never-ending work of heading Onward and Upward!

  19. GMU Law is better for having you at its helm, and like all great leaders you have shown not just vision but humility in the face of achievement. May you relish in the knowledge that the law school remains the crown jewel of George Mason. And may you return to your academic toils with the words of the school’s namesake in mind: “Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.”

  20. Congratulations Henry! What a joy and pleasure it has been to be part of the school during your deanship. Thank you for your belief in me and your unflappable support. You and Paige are a treasure to the school. You didn’t listen to the naysayers. You lead with passion. You poured yourself completely into the job. Blessings!

  21. Henry has continued the tradition of “outside the box innovative” thinking as he continues to advance the law school. Unforgettable was the reception at the U.S. Supreme Court for all of the International School of Law and early Mason Law alumni. Evermore proof of what those of us in the early days knew; Mason would prosper, and advance, and we would attract great leadership, Dean Butler continued the tradition in spades.

  22. What a beautifully written message about Dean Butler’s impact on the law school and each of the students – I could not agree more. Dean Butler’s vision and leadership put the law school on the map as a unique contribution to the national and international conversation. Before 2015, I sometimes had to explain where George Mason Law was located. Now, everyone I encounter has glowing remarks about the law school due to Dean Butler’s dedication to ensuring the country and world knew about the exceptional professors and learning opportunities at Scalia Law. I was lucky enough to have Dean Butler as my professor, boss, and Dean – and he excelled at all three. I knew he would be an incredible Dean from the moment it was announced, and he far surpassed my high expectations. I am eternally grateful for his contributions to my career, and we should all be thankful for his influence on the law school.

  23. Henry – you and Paige have made wonderful contributions to the Law School that will be felt by students, faculty and the broader community for many years to come. All your hard work and vision are appreciated by so many. Best wishes to both of you.

  24. Henry,

    What a run! Congratulations on your many contributions to the law school. As you know, when I returned to the law school from the FTC in 2015, it was primarily because you had become Dean and told me it was time to “come home” and be part of building something great. And I am so grateful that I took your advice. You laid out an exciting and ambitious plan for Scalia Law to “Learn. Challenge. Lead.” And did you ever!

    While this thread is chocked full of your many contributions among the faculty, students, and university as a whole — let me highlight the one nearest and dearest to my heart: faculty hiring. Under your leadership, the Scalia Law faculty added a bright, diverse, and fantastic group of excellent scholars and teachers to our mix, including (at least!): Caroline Cecot, Nuno Garoupa, Donald Kochan, Eugene Kontorovich, Yijia Lu, Jenn Mascott, Murat Mungan, Jordan Neyland, Sean O’Connor, Weijia Rao, Paolo Saguato, Megan Stevenson, and John Yun. What a list! Your impact and leadership will benefit Scalia Law for decades to come.

    Congratulations to you and Paige on a wonderful job. And thank you.

  25. Dean Butler,

    I am certain that others on the Dean Search Committee will agree with me that, although we knew you were the best choice to lead the (at the time) George Mason University Law School, few of us could have imagined just how successful you would be. Thank you for your tireless, creative, and visionary efforts to lead Scalia Law into a future I am certain will be a great one. I wish you and Paige the very best.

  26. Henry – We met when you arrived as a professor in the late 80’s, and I was a student. You were always the “cool” professor, who would join us in the cafeteria on Friday afternoon for a beer (or two). We had some great discussions–sometimes about the law, but more often about college football, and your beloved Miami. THE U! Our friendship has only strengthened over the years, and when I heard you were on the short list for Dean, I crossed my fingers and worked the prayer beads. You proved to be the best Dean ever, between your energetic relationship with the students, your outreach to the alumni, and your unprecedented fundraising skill. I have looked forward to every event you’ve hosted, from forums to happy hours, and, of course, the annual picnic. I’m genuinely sad to see you step down, but alas, the time has come. I’m very happy that you will remain on the faculty, and that we will continue to see you, and Paige, for the foreseeable future. I wish you the very best, my friend. It’s been fun. And don’t worry–the oath of silence I took carries on. Cheers!

  27. One of the many simple poems penned by Edgar Guest seems especially befitting you, Dean Butler.
    Guest reflected on the “Upward and Onward” spirit thusly:

    Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
    But he with a chuckle replied
    That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
    Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
    So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
    On his face. If he worried he hid it.
    He started to sing as he tackled the thing
    That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

    Indeed, Henry, you did it. You raised a new name and a new standard of excellence. You took what was young, and made it honored among the old and grand. You took seriously the purpose of ensuring opportunity for all, and built the most diverse campus in Virginia, all based on merit. You interested some of the greatest minds in our area into becoming faculty to challenge our students to become great. You challenged the status quo of staid legal education, and thereby fostered the growth of sharper minds and clearer thinking among students and faculty as well. You, assisted by your wonderful wife, Paige, established a financial foundation for the school that will help sustain us for decades to come. Indeed, my friend, you did what few thought possible. You took the thing that couldn’t be done, and did it. Your legacy will live long. Thank you.

  28. I’m not supposed to root for any competitors, but I always cheer for GMU. No other school stands up for the values of open inquiry and rigor as well as Scalia, and this is in large part because of the tremendous leadership of its deans, Manne, Polsby, and Butler. Henry somehow combined a love of life and law into the perfect mix. Even though I was a stranger, he always made me feel at home and loved at Scalia. I thought briefly about law administration, and Henry was my role model of an ideal dean. Passionate about ideas, fun loving, ruthless in execution, and with an unwavering commitment to excellence, he has done tremendous things not just for Scalia and GMU but for the legal academy. We need Scalia Law as a voice in the conversation, and Henry preserved and amplified that voice. The Nation owes him a debt of gratitude. God speed, friend.

  29. Henry,

    When I think of Scalia Law, I see an institution at the vanguard of open inquiry and debate. A standard of excellence.

    Those of us who hold dear the ideals advanced by the Scalia Law community owe you a debt of gratitude—for your vision and stewardship. Scalia Law’s place in the world is a testament to your legacy.

  30. Boldness. Energy. Vision. You saw the potential of what the law school could become and the mark we could have on our students and the world. In the words of Jim Collins, “If you cannot be the best in the world at your core business, then your core business absolutely cannot form the basis of a great company.” You saw our comparative advantage and seized it by recognizing our opportunity to become one of the premiere law and economics programs in the world. Mission accomplished!

    But you didn’t just lead us to new heights of scholarly renown and public influence. You built opportunities for all of us, and especially our students, opening doors to opportunities inside the classroom and beyond so they can dream their dreams and accomplish great things in life. Three Supreme Court Justices on faculty, multiple new elite academic center, and an expansion of programs and opportunities for all of us. Amidst all of that you conceived of a spectacular building redesign and powerful art displays that memorialize our patron saints–the Father of the Bill of Rights and our school namesake. Your tireless efforts to make this law school a better place and to increase our impact on the world is appreciated by us all.

    And you did all of this with your extraordinary grace, good humor, resilience, and resolve. You battled through market and personal challenges that would have been enough to bring anyone to a halt. Yet you not only persevered, you gave the law school even more and continued to challenge us to be better.

    I hope you will take a moment and savor all you have done for this law school and continue to do because we appreciate it every day. We are grateful to you and to Paige for sharing you with us for these last several years. There has been no other Dean in the country that has done what you have done and we are all grateful for you both. Your energy and eternal optimism are a personal inspiration. When in doubt, accelerate!

  31. Henry,

    I can’t thank you enough for talking me into coming to Mason. Your enthusiasm will be greatly missed!

    Best wishes,

  32. Dean Butler,

    Five years ago I got a call about coming to Scalia Law. After we hung up, I thought “man, how am I going to keep up with that guy?”

    It’s been napalm and enthusiasm ever since. Can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for me, the students, and the school. You put Scalia Law on the map!


  33. Dean Butler,

    I knew from the moment we met at 1L orientation that I had made the right choice. You are a force of nature and have built our law school into one of the most important institutions for the cause of liberty in the world. The upward momentum of the school has been palpable throughout your tenure—you personify energy in the executive and what it can achieve. I am forever grateful for your mentorship.

    Thank you for everything,

    Daniel Shapiro, Class of 2018

  34. Dear Henry-

    Please accept my hearty congratulations, well done, and best wishes upon this occasion of your completing your Deanship at our school, effective tomorrow. Based upon your accomplishments in office, you will take your place alongside Henry Manne as one of the great law deans, and not just at Scalia Law. You have preserved the unique intellectual identity of our school, and placed it on a dramatically improved financial basis, by raising over $100 million in just over 5 years, including the Rouse gift of over $50 million, which is one of the largest gifts ever received by any law school.

    Of course, your continuation on the faculty and in directing the LEC reminds all of us that your great deanship is only one aspect of your broader career as a scholar and an academic entrepreneur and leader, which now continues into the future. I wish you well, and hope that you and Paige will have many more happy years ahead.

    On a more personal level, you and I go back a long time. We have a lot of shared experiences and interests in common. We have been friends for over 30 years now, and faculty colleagues for a good bit of that time. So, from this point of view, I want everyone to know that, among your many accomplishments, you are a man of honor. In this world we live in today, that may be your signal accomplishment, and I know that it would please a another great Scalia law dean that you and I both knew and respected as a mentor and a leader.

    Best Regards,

    Jeff Parker

  35. Dear Henry,

    Thank you for your wonderful legacy. The entire law school community has benefitted and is benefitting from your hard work and great success. Promises made, promises kept, a truly transformative deanship.

    With grateful thanks and all best wishes to you and Paige.

  36. Dear Dean Butler,

    You are the epitome of a leader. You inspire, motivate, and manage to connect with students, faculty and alumni. Your leadership resulted in George Mason Law School (Scalia Law) becoming one of the best.
    Your fundraising, planning, and tireless work made it happen.

    I am glad that you will continue being a part of the school so that we will still benefit from your skills.
    When I was a student at the law school, those that took your classes talked about how much fun they had in addition to all they learned. I only wish I could turn back the clock and sign up for your class. I would recommend to current and future students that they take your class as long as you are willing to teach.

    Thanks for what you have achieved for all of us that are alumni and current students.

    Paul Ferguson Class of 1992
    Clerk of the Circuit Court
    Arlington, VA and City of Falls Church, VA

  37. I hate all of Henry Butler’s teams (Spiders, Hokies, Hurricanes, and Jayhawks), which would usually be enough for me to detest the man as well. However, try as I might, I can’t help but love the guy. Henry is the epitome of GMU — entrepreneurial, high energy, die-laughing funny, and more than a little attitude. I’ve always considered myself a Mason guy, but never more so than when Henry was at the helm. Onward and upward . . .

  38. Henry — No one embodies Scalia Law more than you. Thanks for all of your tireless work to leave the law school in far better place than you found it. Onward and Upward, indeed!

  39. Well done. You leave the deanship with a much stronger school than it had been before, and I’m delighted that you’ll remain as a colleague.

  40. Dear Henry,

    I enjoyed learning from you as a student and working with you at the LEC. Your advice and counsel is something I have sought out on many an occasion, and for good reason.

    I know your leadership has helped to improve the law school and will influence its legacy and direction for many years to come — all a result of your hard work, dedication, and successes. I’m sure the office of the Dean will never quite be the same without you at the helm.

    I’m sure you have earned a well-deserved break, but I also know that, true to form, you’ll likely continue with whatever task you next undertake with the same boundless energy and vigor as always.

    I wish you and your family all the best. Keep in touch.

  41. Dean Butler,

    Almost five years ago, while I lived abroad, my mom texted and said the Dean of GMU Law called and asked to speak to me. Knowing surely that law school deans didn’t call prospective students, I scribbled down your email address. Lo and behold, it really was the dean!

    Thank you so much for personally investing in students, building Scalia Law to what it is today, and taking a chance on me with that phone call. You and Scalia Law changed my life, and I am so grateful for your leadership.

    Onward and upward!


  42. Henry, among many, many other things, bless you for showing up in the nick of time … not a minute too soon … and for bringing Paige!

  43. Scalia Law School’s loss is my gain…welcome back to the LEC! All of this praise that I’m reading about makes me even more excited to be working with you. Perhaps a little reality check — if you don’t behave yourself, I’m kicking your arse back to the law school. All joking aside, in my short 8 months with the LEC, I can see why you are admired. Congratulations!


  44. Dean Butler,

    Congratulations on a great run! Even with your sights set onward and upward, you still managed to connect with your students, one-on-one, by extending a helping hand and taking a genuine interest in their success. Thank you for the advice and mentorship over the years!

  45. Henry, friend and fellow Dean!

    You will be missed in the dean meetings, but now you can enjoy the next stage of your career having left the law school so much stronger than when you started. A transformational naming gift, record fund raising, impressive rankings for scholarly impact – you did it all in just one term. Your legacy will carry on and the school now is in great hands with Ken building on your successes. You know, we will let you back in the dean meetings any time you’re missing it all!


  46. My application to Scalia Law could be characterized as an afterthought. By the time I received my first email from Dean Butler, requesting a phone call, I was armed with several generous offers from “better” schools across the country. I was tempted to decline the call. Surely U.S. News knows best, right?

    I accepted the call as a courtesy, with every intention of telling the nice man on the other end of the line of my plans to attend elsewhere. But I was taken by the enthusiasm and energy expressed by this new dean of the recently christened Scalia Law School. So I asked a simple question: What is your vision for the future of your school? The question was akin to uncorking a fire hydrant, and I discerned that the ideas and goals pouring forth through our phone connection were far more than a well-honed sales pitch. I caught a dream of what I could achieve, and my subsequent experience at Scalia Law was nothing short of magical. I owe it all to Dean Butler, and I will be eternally grateful.

    Thank you, Dean, for your impact on my life and the lives of so many who have been blessed by your inspiration and leadership.

  47. As I have been duly preoccupied, I’m coming late to this long list of Henry accolades. What can I add? Let’s endow the Dean Henry Butler Cornhole Tournament as testament to Henry’s commitment to working hard and having fun. Onward and Upward!

  48. Dear Henry,
    Your five years at the helm have been like no other deanship in living memory. Renaming the law school to universal acclaim, raising an astounding $166 million for a small public institution, growing and strengthening the faculty, establishing the centers, improving the stats for each successive entering class, boosting the judicial clerkships and practice opportunities for our graduates, … and there is more but I am exhausted just thinking about the energy you have dedicated to Scalia Law. Deecy and I know you couldn’t have done it without Paige at your side. (The question is whether she could have done it without you!)
    The faculty and our new dean are extremely fortunate that you will continue to run the Law & Economics Center, which brings so much credit to the law school among many hundreds of judges, professors, and public officials that it serves each year. Big Henry would be very pleased. Onward and upward!

  49. I still remember speaking to you on the phone when I was considering what law school to attend. Your enthusiasm for recruitment and for Scalia Law was a big reason I decided to attend, and I couldn’t be happier with that choice. During my time here, I particularly enjoyed taking Law & Economics with you. I took the class simply because I really enjoy economics. A lot of what I learned in that class has been useful in my other classes (and, I imagine, will be in my future career).

    Thank you for all the memories.

    Brennen VanderVeen

  50. Dean Butler,

    I’ve so enjoyed working with you over the last several years and sincerely appreciate all you’ve done for the law school and for CPIP! Forever onward and upward!

  51. Dean Butler, you have been a great Dean. Under your leadership the law school has made great strides and has achieved a degree of excellence not seen before in our school’s history. I am happy to know that you will still be teaching at Scalia Law. Onward and upward! All the best, Mark Cummings

  52. I had heard about the great work Prof. Butler did when he taught at G.M.U.S.L. in the 1980’s, and was sorry to see him leave. I was delighted to learn he had returned to Mason. Then, when I heard he was appointed Dean in June 2015, I decided to meet with him to discuss ways I could help him accomplish his goals for my Alma Mater. I had proudly spent my entire career as an attorney in public service to our great nation. Therefore, my estate’s value was far lower than those of my colleagues who had left to pursue opportunities in the private sector. However, after speaking to Dean Butler, I decided that my plan to fund the first privately endowed chair at G.M.U.S.L. was a worthy legacy. My desire to start ‘the ball rolling’ and in hopes of encouraging others to ‘step up’ was a worthy way to ‘pay it forward!
    As Paige Butler and her staff at the Office of Advancement worked with me to iron out the M.O.U. and other paperwork, I grew to admire even more the great team Dean Butler was able to assemble. I knew then that they would achieve miraculous results. I never dreamed they would be able to raise the type of donations they actually did. After reviewing other top tier law school endowments, I came to the realization that only Henry and Paige Butler could have raised the tremendous sums of money they did for the law school. Thanks again for all you have done.

  53. Thank you to Dean Butler for his tireless and amazing work on behalf of the law school! Dean Butler touched the lives of every student as Scalia Law including my own. From a first day as an admitted candidate, Dean Butler helped distinguish the school with his unique personal touch – texts and calls to every prospective student. Dean Butler wanted to get to know each person so that he could help them find their way in the Scalia Law community. That encouraging attitude and strive for success were constant throughout my time at Scalia Law and after.

    We thank Dean Henry Butler for his amazing service and leadership and wish him well at the Law & Econ Center!

Comments are closed.