Dedication Ceremony Formally Marks Tampa Bay Campus Opening
October 31, 2012 – Thomas M. Cooley Law School formally marked the opening of its new Tampa Bay campus with a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting. Over 250 people attended the event at 9445 Camden Field Parkway, including Cooley's founder and president emeritus, the Honorable Thomas E. Brennan.
The new campus, located at 9445 Camden Field Parkway, is Cooley's fifth campus and the first outside of Michigan; the school's other campuses are located in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Auburn Hills and Ann Arbor.
"We're excited to begin a new chapter for Cooley Law School in Tampa Bay and dedicate a campus for our growing student population outside of Michigan," said Don LeDuc, Cooley Law School's president and dean.
Renovations to turn an existing building into a state-of-the-art law school began in September 2011. The Riverview, Florida site was once occupied by Progressive Insurance. Now complete, the 132,000-square-foot building can accommodate approximately 700 students. It includes a 25,000-square-foot law library, 336-seat auditorium and 24 classrooms. The 13.3 acre property also contains on site parking for more than 500 cars.
The Tampa Bay campus began offering evening classes to 109 students this past May. Morning classes started in September and afternoon classes will start in January 2013. Currently there are 275 students enrolled in classes at the Tampa Bay campus. The full curriculum for the campus will be rolled out over a three-year period. Once it is in place, Cooley will employ approximately 53 full-time faculty and staff and about 35 part time-faculty in the Tampa Bay area.
"This campus is an exceptional learning environment because it has been tailored to meet the educational needs of today's law students," said Jeff Martlew, associate dean of Cooley's Tampa Bay campus. "We are pleased with the enthusiastic reception of the local bench and bar and we look forward to building a strong relationship with the Tampa Bay community."
Cooley Law School is a non profit, educational corporation. Cooley is the nation's largest law school, the largest provider of part time legal education and the largest law school for minority enrollment. Florida is home to Cooley's second-largest base of alumni, with more than 870 graduates living in the state. Beyond this large alumni base, Cooley has experienced a growing presence in Florida through its 141 approved extern work sites and its Service to Soldiers: Legal Assistance Program. Cooley is approved by the American Bar Association, the Higher Learning Commission and the Florida Department of Education Commission for Independent Education. The ABA granted acquiescence to open Cooley's Tampa Bay campus in August 2011.
About Cooley Law School: Founded in 1972, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School is a private, nonprofit, independent law school accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. Cooley has provided its more than 16,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. Cooley offers its Juris Doctor program, Joint Degree programs, and Master of Laws programs three times a year with enrollment in January, May and September. Cooley Law School has campuses across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, and its new campus in Tampa Bay, Florida.