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NACUA's First Decade Award

Dickens Mathieu - 2013

Dickens “Deke” Mathieu is the senior legal counsel at Tufts University. As of June 2013, Deke will become the vice president and general counsel designate at Syracuse University. He will assume full-time responsibilities as the chief legal officer for Syracuse on July 1. In addition to managing the lawyers in the legal office at Syracuse, Deke will advise the university on critical strategic, legal, and public policy issues facing the university. As advisor to the chancellor and to the Board of Trustees and as part of the university’s senior management team, Deke will be called upon to provide creative solutions to help achieve the mission and goals of the University.

Deke began his career in higher education at Tufts University, where he served as senior legal counsel for almost nine years. As one of two in-house lawyers at Tufts, Deke was responsible for a wide range of the university's legal work, including litigation, labor and employment, student affairs, faculty affairs, and athletics, among others. In addition, Deke was deeply involved in employee training at Tufts, working with administrative and academic leaders to develop and deliver training for newly-hired or newly-promoted senior administrators, faculty chairs and program directors, and graduate students. He managed the university’s relationships with the labor organizations representing facilities and police employees, serving as lead negotiator in collective bargaining, managing grievances and arbitrations, as well as coordinating the university's response to union organizing campaigns on campus.

Prior to joining Tufts, Deke was an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston where he prosecuted major drug traffickers and money launderers. Prior to that, he worked as a labor and employment law associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Washington, D.C. Deke holds a B.A. from Amherst College, where he captained the men’s basketball team. He holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he met the second love of his life, after his wife and children, golf.

Deke has been actively involved with NACUA since his first conference in Orlando in 2005, where he moderated a panel on the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act). During his tenure, he has written a monograph and served on multiple committees including: the Committee on Program for the Annual Conference, Committee on Web Page Legal Resources, Committee on Board Operations, as Vice Chair of the Task Force on Annual Conference, and most recently, the Committee on Nominations and Elections. In addition to his committee service, Deke also served on the NACUA Board of Directors in 2009 – 2012. He has also spoken and moderated 12 times at NACUA educational programs and has attended nearly 20 annual conferences and CLE workshops.

Deke’s NACUA colleagues describe him as a model of the personal and professional values that NACUA espouses. He has repeatedly made significant contributions to the programming and administrative needs of the Association.

NACUA is pleased to recognize Dickens Mathieu as a recipient of the First Decade Award for his outstanding service to the Association and to the practice of higher education law during his first ten years of membership.