Tom Geu, dean of the University of South Dakota School of Law, announced today that Associate Dean Tom Sorensen is retiring from the USD School of Law, effective Sunday, Dec. 22, after serving the Law School for more than 13 years and the state of South Dakota for more than 20 years.
“Dean Sorensen is a very loyal USD alumnus and a tireless advocate for the School of Law, including helping hundreds of students through law school,” said Geu. “I have always valued his talents as an effective communicator and important and knowledgeable representative of the Law School.”
Among the areas of service and contribution to the School of Law are Sorensen’s oversight of academic affairs, policy, and support; media, public, and alumni relations, including the South Dakotan Lawyer magazine; student recruitment; and in recent years as director of the summer externship law course. At USD, he has also served on the President’s Council for Diversity and Inclusiveness, the Student Counseling Center Advisory Board, and other committees and appointed positions.
Sorensen is a member of the State Bar of South Dakota, including committee service, and the Nebraska State Bar. He has also been a director on the board for East River Legal Services and was the faculty advisor for the Second Circuit’s R.D. Hurd Pro Bono Student Volunteer Society. Before joining the dean’s staff at the Law School, Sorensen briefly practiced as an associate attorney at the Bogue, Weeks & Collier law firm in Vermillion, including service as Vermillion’s deputy city attorney. He had earlier served two terms as an alderman on the Vermillion City Council.
Prior to his service in the legal profession, Sorensen’s work spanned more than two decades in various positions in the region as a journalist and radio news director, including at South Dakota Public Broadcasting, WDAY in Fargo, N.D., and at KSOO in Sioux Falls. He worked for the Associated Press in Bismarck, N.D. Over the years, Sorensen often moderated political debates and other public panel discussions along his path to the legal profession.
A Vermillion native, Tom and Mary Johnson, raised near Moville, Iowa, were formally introduced 43 years ago by a mutual friend at USD while working with other students on a project for Dakota Days. He and Mary intend to remain in Vermillion for the immediate future, with plans to spend more time with their three grandchildren and their three daughters, traveling, and enjoying outdoor activities.