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Renee Knake Appointed to Michigan State University Board of Trustees

Posted: 2:39 PM, Dec 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-04 14:39:15-05
Renee Knake

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today appointed Renee Knake to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees.

“As a proud Spartan, I understand how important it is to have someone on the board who will do right by students, staff, and alumni. I know Renee will work with President Stanley to ensure that Michigan State embodies a culture that respects diversity, values and listens to all survivors, and makes college education more affordable and accessible for Michigan families,” said Whitmer. “I’m confident that Renee’s professional background and unique skillset is what Michigan State University needs right now.”

Prior to this appointment, members of the Whitmer Administration met with students from Michigan State University to engage in a dialogue about the board seat. This meeting provided an opportunity for administration officials to listen to students' concerns directly and engage in a dialogue about the needs facing the university.

Renee Knake currently serves as a professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and is the Joanne and Larry Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics. In addition to her teaching role, she is the director of Outcomes and Assessments and a member of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equality Committee. Prior to joining the University of Houston in 2016, Knake spent over 10 years at Michigan State University, receiving tenure at the College of Law and also teaching at the Eli Broad College of Business and the Honors College. While at MSU, she was the director of the 21st Century Law Practice Summer Program in London and co-founder of the ReInvent Law Laboratory for Law, Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. She also is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Ms. Knake is the chair-elect of the professional responsibility section of the Association of American Law Schools and a member of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission Selection Committee for the Discipline of Law. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School and her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts and Economics from North Park College. She resides in East Lansing with her two children.

Ms. Knake’s work and advocacy has helped prevent sexual harassment and assault in the legal community. In October of 2018, Ms. Knake spoke to the Federal Judiciary Ethics Committee about the need to ensure that no individual experiences sexual harassment as a rite of passage within the legal profession.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the students, staff, and alumni at MSU and am eager to work with my partners on the Board of Trustees to ensure the safety and security of everyone on campus,” said Knake. “I’ve dedicated my career to ensuring diversity in institutions like Michigan State, and I’m prepared to continue that work as a trustee. I know that as an MSU grad, this is an issue the governor cares deeply about, and I’m committed to ensuring that she and everyone else who graduates from Michigan State is proud to be a Spartan for life.”

The following is a statement from MSU Board of Trustees Chair Dianne Byrum on today’s appointment of Renee Knake as Board Trustee:

“I appreciate Gov. Whitmer’s quick attention to filling the vacancy to the MSU Board of Trustees and I welcome Renee Knake to the Board. I am excited to have Renee as a colleague and look forward to working with her. Renee will be joining the Board at an important time as the university is focused on implementing the necessary policy and structural changes outlined in the independent federal investigations and its continued efforts to create a more welcoming and safe campus while implementing strategies for diversity, equity and inclusion. She will also be joining the Board as we begin a campus-wide strategic planning process. Renee brings an inside look of MSU from her decade-long time on the faculty as a law professor. In addition, she brings an outside look through her scholarly efforts and her current role as Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics at the University of Houston Law Center.”

This appointment is not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

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