Loyola at a Glance
Loyola alumnus, former instructor elected to US House of Representatives
December 12, 2008
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law alumnus and former Jesuit seminarian Anh “Joseph” Cao was elected Saturday, Dec. 6 to represent Louisiana’s 2nd district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Cao, 41, who defeated nine-term Congressman William J. Jefferson, made national and international headlines Sunday, as word of his election spread. He will become the first Vietnamese-American member of Congress when he is sworn-in in January.
Cao immigrated to the United States in 1975, after the fall of Saigon. He graduated in 1990 from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, with a bachelor’s degree in physics, and entered the Society of Jesus with plans of becoming a Jesuit priest. He began his training at Grand Couteau.
In 1995, Cao received a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University in New York and taught philosophy at Loyola. Cao left the Jesuits in 1996 and was accepted to Loyola’s College of Law in 1998, where he earned a Juris Doctorate in 2000. He is fluent in English, Vietnamese, Spanish and French.
Cao, who owns his own law firm, has been involved in charitable, religious and civic pursuits for several years. As a seminarian, he ministered to indigent people in the U.S. and abroad. From 1996 to 2002, he served on the board of Boat People SOS, which assists Vietnamese-Americans in advancing social justice and other cultural issues. In 2002, Cao was appointed to the National Advisory Council to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by Archbishop Alfred Hughes. Cao serves on the board of the Mary Queen of Vietnam Community Development Corporation, the state board of elections and the state Republican Executive Committee. He is married and has two daughters.
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