WSU appoints Danielle Hess executive director for policy and governance

Washington State University’s top lawyer is taking a new systemwide role, and will be replaced as division chief by an assistant attorney general who has worked alongside her since 2015.

Danielle Hess, who served as senior assistant attorney general and chief of the WSU Division of the Office of the Attorney General, will become executive director for policy and governance effective June 1. Her replacement is Nathan Deen, who did his undergrad studies at WSU before going on to law school.

Hess will provide administrative focus and oversight of Board of Regents governance and compliance as well as systemwide policy development and management. She will report to Sharyl Kammerzell, associate vice president and chief compliance and risk officer.

“It’s great to know that the AG’s office at WSU will be in good hands, and I am excited to continue to work with WSU, focusing on governance and policy issues,” Hess said.

In her new role, Hess will assist the board of regents and help ensure that the governing body follows its policies and procedures and fulfills its fiduciary duties to the university.

Hess will also lead system administrative policy development and management, ensuring WSU’s diversity, equity and inclusivity and tribal consultation policies are adhered to.

“Danielle’s new role will provide focus and expertise for policy development, implementation and coordination for the entire WSU system and I am excited she will help us address some critical needs given her substantial knowledge and expertise,” Stacy Pearson, vice president for finance and administration, said.

After graduating with her juris doctor from the University of Washington, Hess served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable H. Joseph Coleman at the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division 1.

Following a stint at a Seattle Law Firm, Hess worked in the General Counsel’s Office at the University of Idaho and then joined the state Attorney General’s office at WSU in 2008. She was appointed division chief in 2011.

Deen, who took over for Hess on May 16, joined the Attorney General’s office at WSU as an assistant attorney general in 2015 following seven years in Bellingham as a prosecutor for the Lummi Nation and Whatcom County. He received his juris doctor from Washington and Lee University in 2007.

“I am thankful for the mentorship and strong foundation Danielle provided me here at the WSU Division of the Attorney General’s Office and I am looking forward to building on her success,” Deen said.  “I am honored to lead a talented, dedicated team of public servants who are driven to serve the state and citizens of Washington by providing excellent, independent, and ethical legal advice and representation to WSU. 

He continued, “On a personal note, I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to professionally assist and support my alma mater; the institution that first opened my eyes to a career in the law when I took a political science pre-law course my senior year.”

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