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My Opening Farewell

You may have noticed that some of the titles of sections and articles have “borrowed” titles from songs (like this one, for instance). Most likely unless you are my age you never heard of this song or many of the others used in the newsletter. I could have used another from the same artist: “All Good Things Have to Come to an End.” This is my last newsletter as I will step down from being department head at the end of July (incidentally, I did not plan it this way, but being department head is also service, so it fits with the theme of the newsletter.)

I have been a department head for 15 of the last 17 years. I could not find the exit sign. It has been a privilege to serve in this capacity for the last eight years (in July). The past few years have been particularly challenging with the pandemic, but I am proud of and grateful to my colleagues for managing the difficult times and going above and beyond during such a difficult period. The work is far from finished, but it is time for the department to have fresh ideas, a different voice, and maybe a new vision. I wish my successor (whomever that might be) the best and pledge to help the new department head in every way possible as John Scheb, my predecessor, helped me.

I am not wandering off into the sunset just yet. I will return to the classroom to teaching the courses I enjoy and was not always able to teach the last eight years. And there is this: As mentioned in the service discussion, I gave four talks in the last year and a half. At each of those talks, Dean Theresa Lee would introduce me and mention that I was working on a book on issue evolution in the Supreme Court. That book has been in the works forever it seems. I took the subject of “evolution” too literally as it seems like I have been working on this project for thousands of years. I long for the day when Dean Lee will introduce me as a guest speaker and say “Professor Pacelle recently published a book on Issue Evolution.” I can do that more easily as a regular faculty member.

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