Geoffrey S. Mearns
On August 3, 2010, Cleveland State University’s Board of Trustees ratified a recommendation by President Ronald Berkman to appoint Geoffrey S. Mearns to the position of Provost. Prior to this appointment, Mearns held the position of Interim Provost for six months. As the chief academic officer of the University, Mearns supervises eight academic deans and five vice provosts, as well as the director of the University library.
Mearns joined the University on July 11, 2005 as Dean of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. During his tenure as Dean, the law school recruited a stronger and more diverse student body and several outstanding and diverse new faculty, substantially improved the performance of its graduates on the Ohio bar exam, completed a major renovation of the law building, including a technologically advanced mock trial courtroom, developed a new branding and marketing campaign, and substantially increased donations from alumni and law firms. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Mearns has taught a federal criminal investigations seminar, criminal law, and white collar crime.
Prior to his appointment as Dean, Mearns was a practicing lawyer for more than 15 years. From 1998 until 2005, he was in private practice. His practice focused on federal criminal investigations and prosecutions and complex commercial litigation. While in private practice, he was also actively involved in pro bono work.
Prior to commencing private practice in 1998, Mearns had a distinguished nine-year career as a prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice. During his tenure with the Justice Department, he was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where he was Chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. In that position, he was responsible for investigating, prosecuting and supervising cases against members and associates of organized-crime families charged with racketeering, murder, extortion, bribery and obstruction of justice. Mearns was also the First Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. From 1997 to 1998, as Special Assistant to the United States Attorney General, he participated in the prosecution of Terry Nichols, one of two men convicted for bombing the Oklahoma City Federal Building.
Mearns received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1981, and his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1987. After graduating from law school, he clerked for the Honorable Boyce F. Martin, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Mearns has been active in professional and community service. Among other activities, he was Chair of the Merit Selection Committee for the United States Magistrate Judgeship for the Northern District of Ohio and twice Chair of the Merit Selection Committee on Bankruptcy Judgeships for the Northern District of Ohio. He is a trustee of Wingspan Care Group, Applewood Centers, Inc., and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. He is also a member of the Community-Based Correctional Facility Governing Board for Cuyahoga County.
Mearns was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community, the Lay Review Board of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, and the American Bar Association Ohio Death Penalty Moratorium Project.
Mearns has been an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and New York Law School. He has published articles on criminal litigation, and he is a frequent speaker and commentator on various criminal law issues, including counter-terrorism.
He lives in Shaker Heights with his wife, Jennifer, and their five children.