Kansas State University appoints Shari F. Crittendon as general counsel
Friday, June 12, 2020
MANHATTAN — Shari F. Crittendon, a highly experienced general counsel with more than 25 years of legal experience in private practice and higher education, has been appointed the chief legal officer of Kansas State University.
Crittendon's selection as general counsel was made by K-State President Richard Myers following a national search.
"Shari Crittendon has a strong record of accomplishment in resolving the complex legal and business challenges that can confront institutions of higher education, which make her ideally suited to lead the university's Office of General Counsel," Myers said. "As our new general counsel, she will be relied upon to manage all legal services to the university, provide legal counsel and advice to prevent and solve problems, and spearhead vigorous representation in litigation matters and other areas of dispute resolution."
Crittendon will serve on the President's Cabinet and will lead the K-State Office of General Counsel. Her responsibilities will include overseeing legal services to all campuses and related entities of the university, including K-State Athletics and K-State Research and Extension. She will also manage the representation of the university and its administrators in judicial and administrative proceedings and in negotiations with third parties; direct the coordination of all outside counsel for the university; and collaborate with counsel for the Kansas Board of Regents and its related institutions, among other duties. Crittendon will begin serving in her new role remotely on June 28 before arriving on campus on Aug. 1.
"I am delighted to join the Kansas State University community and support its 2025 vision to be recognized as a premier, student-centered, public research university fulfilling its land-grant mission," Crittendon said. "I look forward to collaborating with the president, provost, senior leadership and the outstanding staff in the Office of General Counsel."
Crittendon has made a career of handling complex legal issues that are customary to highly regulated and scrutinized institutions. Most recently, Crittendon served as senior corporate counsel and director of outreach and compliance for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America. Previously, Crittendon was vice president, general counsel and secretary of the corporation of the United Negro College Fund, known as UNCF, where she served as strategic advisor and counsel to the president and CEO, senior management and the board of directors regarding legal, regulatory, governance and legislative matters. While at UNCF, she is credited with playing a pivotal role in establishing the $1.6 billion Gates Millennium Scholars Program. Crittendon also designed and implemented a legislative strategy in collaboration with higher education advocacy groups to secure passage of the historic Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which allocated $2.6 billion in mandatory funding for minority-serving institutions.
As principal of her own firm, Crittendon represented tax-exempt organizations and school systems on employment, governance and compliance matters. Earlier in her career, Crittendon was assistant general counsel at Morgan State University and also practiced in the commercial litigation groups of two Mid-Atlantic law firms.
Crittendon earned her law degree from the Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in communication and rhetorical studies/public policy from Syracuse University.