Paul L. Caron

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Syracuse Dean (And Tax Prof) Craig Boise: 'The Only Harley-Riding, Piano-Playing, Calf-Roping Law Dean In The Country'

SyracuseDaily Orange, College of Law Dean Craig Boise Described as the ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’:

His friends describe him as the closest a real person could come to being James Bond.

Syracuse University College of Law Dean Craig Boise is a man of many talents. When he meets someone for the first time, odds are it’ll take that person a while to discover his collection of talents — he’s a skilled classical pianist, scuba diver, sailor, motorcyclist, corporate international tax law guru, salsa dancer, world traveler and a former SWAT team member whose roots lie in small-town Missouri.

“I don’t think there are many deans who have kicked down doors on drug busts and also played classical piano,” said Andrew Morriss, law school dean at Texas A&M University and Boise’s longtime friend and colleague. “He’s kind of like the most interesting man in the world from the tequila commercials.”

Boise began his post in July after coming to SU from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, where he was also dean. During his deanship, Boise’s main goals are to stabilize the law school financially during what has been a rough patch for law schools nationally, increase the school’s diversity, broaden the school’s education into new territory and increase students’ bar exam passage rate and job placements. ...

Boise has had an untraditional path to his career. Coming from an agricultural background, he grew up working summers at a family farm in Nebraska and served as treasurer of his high school’s Future Farmers of America chapter. His graduating class only had 68 students.

Coming from a family and town of farmers, Boise initially didn’t see college in the cards for himself. But when he was offered a scholarship to study classical piano at University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, he took a leap of faith and changed gears.

Because he ultimately could only afford two years of school, Boise left the university to pursue a variety of careers. He earned his real estate license and then chose to enter the police force in Kansas City, where he worked from 1986 to 1991. ...

Boise attended University of Chicago Law School, where he became interested in tax law. He practiced law for nine years, working for a firm in Kansas City, and later a couple in New York City, before he kick-started his teaching career.

He first taught tax law at Florida State University at his friend’s request, then taught at Case Western Reserve University for six years, worked as the director of DePaul University’s tax law program for two years and then worked as dean at Cleveland State University’s law school for five years.

And then he came to Syracuse. Boise wasn’t looking for a change when he came across the opportunity of the law school deanship, but he said a major attracting point was SU Chancellor Kent Syverud, a former law school dean whom Boise had met before. “That was the first thing that intrigued me about the opportunity,” Boise said. “I knew that a chancellor who understood legal education is a really valuable thing to have if you’re a dean of a college of law within a university.”

Cleveland State University, Viking Pride:

Craig Boise is possibly the only Harley-riding, piano-playing, calf-roping law dean in the country.

Legal Education, Tax | Permalink


I'm the guy who had to follow in Dean Boise's big footsteps at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. I ride a two-speed bike, can dance the electric slide, and can play four chords on the piano to the tune of Happy Together by the Turtles. Thanks, Craig.

Posted by: Lee Fisher | Oct 31, 2016 10:12:17 AM

I'm glad he's Harley-riding, piano-playing and calf-roping, and not Harley-ridin', piano-playin' and calf-ropin'. Because I can't stand people like that.

Posted by: Lois Turner | Oct 30, 2016 9:28:43 PM

Dean Boise sounds like one of the few law deans a normal person would like to have a beer with. Speaking of beer, the "most interesting man in the world" is in a Dos Equis beer commercial, not a tequila commercial. I can't imagine what led to the confusion.

Posted by: Rob Anderson | Oct 29, 2016 10:30:32 PM

My dean is quoted in this article, and he's an overly-humble man, but I'm pretty sure he just needs to practice his piano skills to be on the same level. ;)

All kidding aside, Dean Boise is a modern Renaissance man. This article only covers some of his amazing predilections and skills.

Posted by: Jack Manhire | Oct 29, 2016 2:17:28 PM