BETHANY, W.Va. – The new dean of the Appalachian School of Law and former justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia will deliver Bethany College’s annual Fall Convocation address at 11 a.m. Sept. 12 in Commencement Hall.

Her address is free and open to the public.

The Hon. Elizabeth A. McClanahan was named a justice for the Supreme Court of Virginia in 2011 and retired from that role on Sept. 1. Her role as dean of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., took effect Sept. 2.

In her career, she has worked in private practice and has served as Virginia’s chief deputy attorney general and a judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals. She has a background in oil and gas law, and in 1994 was named the El Paso Natural Gas Law Fellow for the Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Colorado School of Law.

Since 2011, McClanahan has served as the Street Memorial Distinguished Visitor in Real Estate Law at the Appalachian School of Law. She has taught classes related to mineral law.

In 2011, she was named one of the “Influential Women of Virginia” by Virginia Lawyers Media and, in 2017, received the University of Dayton School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award. She has received numerous community service awards, including the 2014 ASL Appalachian Service Award.

McClanahan received a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary and a law degree from the University of Dayton.

She is licensed to practice law in West Virginia, Virginia, District of Columbia, and Maryland.


Founded in 1840, Bethany is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of the liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.