By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Villanova Law School’s newly appointed administrator — whose presence is making history — welcomed the latest class of students this week.

Mark Alexander is the new Dean of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law and the first African American ever to fill the post.

“It’s just a great opportunity to serve my community,” says Alexander, a father of five.

A D.C. native, born to a professor mother, Alexander grew up in shadow of the Capitol. His father, Clifford, served as attorney for President Lyndon B. Johnson.

He recalls family discussions that shaped his life:

“Talking to my parents about the importance of service, the importance of civil rights, the importance of equality.”

Listen to the full interview in this CBS Philly podcast (trt: 13:56)…

Alexander studied architecture at Yale University and after graduation, worked in the Senate. He eventually went to Yale Law so he could have a bigger impact on policy and landed a job at a big firm as an attorney.

Alexander has since transitioned into academia where he worked at Seton Hall University’s School of Law for two decades. He says the legal landscape has changed, with declining enrollment in law schools, so law schools must also change how they prepare students:

“They need to be prepared on how the business of law works, they need to be prepared to understand how their client’s business works.”

Alexander’s appointment was effective July 1st.

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