Home Law School News Allan Vestal passes dean’s baton to Ben Ullem

Allan Vestal passes dean’s baton to Ben Ullem

Allan Vestal stepped down as dean on June 30 and Ben Ullem became the new dean effective July 1. After a sabbatical year, Allan plans to return to a faculty position in fall 2015.

“I would like to thank Allan for his service to Drake over the last five years,” says Drake University Provost Deneese Jones. “His leadership has led to significant renovations at Cartwright Hall, the establishment of new clinical programs that serve the community, and increased faculty publication.” Vestal also recruited a talented cohort of new faculty while developing LL.M. and M.J. programs that broaden the school’s scope.

Dean Ben Ullem, LW'69

Benjamin B. Ullem has been appointed dean of Drake Law School for the academic year beginning July 1, 2014. Ullem graduated from Drake 1966 and from Drake Law School in 1969. He will be taking a leave of absence from his current position as a member of Drake University Board of Trustees, where he has served since 1989. He previously served as interim dean of the law school in 2008–2009. A national search for a new dean will commence in August 2014.

“We are excited to welcome Ben back to campus as interim dean,” says Drake University President David Maxwell. “His intimate knowledge of Drake and the law school will serve the University well as we embark on a national search for a new dean. Ben is a superb leader with a passion for Drake, Des Moines, and the law.”

Ullem is a senior partner at Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C., a Des Moines, Iowa law firm. He has practiced at the firm since 1969 representing a variety of clients including businesses and their owners, and also surety law and construction clients.

He has many significant ties to Drake. He served as chair of Drake’s board of trustees from 2000–2003 as well as president of the National Alumni Association Board of Directors in 1988. In 1993–1994 Ullem chaired Drake’s National Commission II, which helped plan Campaign Drake, a comprehensive fundraising campaign for the University. He was a member of the Drake Law School Board of Counselors from 1988 – 1996, and served as Chair from 1995 – 1996.

He has been awarded the Drake Medal of Service and received the Distinguished Service award. Ullem was not the first Drake grad in his family—his father, B. F. Ullem, graduated from Drake in 1927 and Drake Law School in 1929. Ben’s daughter, Cynthia Christy, graduated from Drake Law School in 1997.

A more detailed bio, including Ben’s professional and civic activities, is available at http://www.whitfieldlaw.com/attorney_profiles/benjamin-b-ullem.