Mitchell Hamline School of Law has named Camille Davidson, a dean and professor at Southern Illinois University School of Law, as its new leader.

She will become the St. Paul law school's president and dean on July 1, taking over from Interim President and Dean Jim Hilbert.

"Camille emerged early as a clear standout in an extremely qualified field," said Jim Jacobson, a former member of the school's board of trustees, in a statement. "Her extensive experience as a scholar and administrator, commitment to supporting students, and fundraising success make her an excellent choice for Mitchell Hamline."

Davidson said she was drawn to the position because of Mitchell Hamline's innovative approach, including a blended learning option that allows students to do some of their courses online.

"I really think the only way to have true access to justice is to train people to serve their communities," she said. Mitchell Hamline "does a really, really good job with that and I'm excited to be a part of that community."

Davidson will be the third president of the law school, which was created in 2015 when William Mitchell College of Law combined with Hamline University School of Law. She'll be the first Black woman to serve as president and dean of Mitchell Hamline.

Before joining Southern Illinois University School of Law in July 2020, Davidson spent 11 years as a professor and administrator at Charlotte School of Law and Wake Forest University School of Law.

Her legal career began with a clerkship at the D.C. Superior Court in Washington, D.C., followed by a position as an assistant counsel in the Office of the Legislative Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives. She has also worked as a judicial hearing officer for the state of North Carolina, and in private practice in health law and estate planning and administration in Charlotte, N.C.

Davidson was born and raised in Mississippi. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center

She and her husband have two children.

"I'm really looking forward to the move to Minnesota," Davidson said, adding that she's already bought two winter coats to prepare. "I have a long history of both practicing law and teaching law in various environments and I look forward to bringing my wealth of experience to this region."

Correction: And earlier version of this story had the wrong attribution for Jim Jacobson's quote. It has been updated.