NKU announces Joan M. Gates as VP of Legal Affairs and General Counsel

Joan M. Gates

University Marketing + Communications 

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey S. Mearns announced today that Joan M. Gates has been appointed Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel and will replace Sara L. Sidebottom, who is retiring after 20 years with the University.

Gates is Senior Legal Counsel at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and a graduate of NKU’s Chase College of Law. She will begin at NKU on July 18, 2016.

“Joan brings deep and vast knowledge of legal issues surrounding academic research, technology, health care, regulatory compliance, and employment law,” Mearns said. “Her experience will serve our University well during this time of growth and change, and we are pleased to welcome her to NKU.”

Gates will serve as the University’s chief legal officer, providing legal expertise and services on a wide range of matters. She will advise the president and serve on his executive team, and also advise the Board of Regents with respect to its governance and responsibilities.

She will oversee all legal matters for the University and advise administrators, faculty, and staff on legal matters. The General Counsel also provides management and oversight for the Office of Financial and Operational Auditing and the Office of Compliance and Institutional Ethics.

“I am delighted and honored to return to my alma mater in this leadership role, and I look forward to working with President Mearns and his team to make a positive impact upon NKU’s future,” Gates said.

At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Gates oversees all legal matters that impact academic research operations; interprets laws, rules, and regulations related to academic research; advises executive staff; drafts, negotiates, and reviews contracts; and represents the hospital and provides counsel in legal proceedings.

Previously, Gates was Director of Environmental, Health and Safety for the North American operations of Givaudan Flavors Corp.; Director of Health and Safety at Children’s; and an associate at Thompson Hine LLP in Cincinnati.

She graduated magna cum laude from NKU’s Chase College of Law in 2000 and holds a bachelor of science in biology from the University of Kentucky. She is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Cincinnati Bar Association.

Gates also serves on the boards of the nonprofit organizations Cancer Support Community and the Greater Cincinnati Minority Counsel Program.