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College of Law celebrates centennial, honors Moon Landrieu and other influential alumni

Loyola press release - January 21, 2014

This month, the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law will celebrate its 100-year anniversary by honoring one of its most important and influential graduates, former New Orleans Mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu ’52, J.D. ’54, H’79, H’05. Landrieu, who was instrumental in the fight to desegregate city government and public facilities in the 1970s, will receive the St. Ives Award—the College of Law’s highest honor.

The College of Law’s 100-year history dates back to 1914 when it was established at Baronne and Common Streets in downtown New Orleans, admitting a class of 42 students that fall. Judge John St. Paul served as founding dean for the College of Law until 1918. He remained at Loyola as a professor, and in 1922 he was elected associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. After it moved to Loyola’s main campus in 1915, the College of Law remained there until moving to its current location on Loyola’s Broadway campus in 1986 to accommodate its growth. Today, the College of Law occupies two buildings on that campus, including the Broadway Building, which houses the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice. Under the leadership of former dean Marcel Garsaud H’04, professor Keith Vetter and former professor Buddy Lemann, the College of Law brought clinical legal education to Louisiana, with a Ford Foundation Grant in the 1970s.

In the last century, the College of Law has served as a legal training ground for leaders like Landrieu and other top legal professionals in the political, business, arts and academic arenas, while many graduates are serving as judges at the federal and state level.

The College of Law will kick off its year-long centennial and pay tribute to its many illustrious alumni at the Law Alumni Luncheon Friday, Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans. At the luncheon, Landrieu will receive the St. Ives Award, an accolade presented annually to alumni who have volunteered services to the College of Law or the university and maintained the highest standards of the legal profession. To attend, register online or call 504-861-5741. For more information on centennial celebrations, visit law.loyno.edu.

Following his graduation from the College of Law, Landrieu served in the U.S. Army and practiced law until 1970 when he was elected mayor of New Orleans. From 1960 to the present, he served in positions of public service as a Louisiana state legislator; councilman at large for the city of New Orleans; secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the cabinet of President Jimmy Carter; and finally judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal for the State of Louisiana.

Landrieu said receiving the St. Ives award during the College of Law’s centennial “makes me feel very grateful to Loyola for the education that I received and for the life lessons that I was taught by the Jesuits.”

The former mayor’s passion for equal rights parallels many of the other students and faculty who have walked the halls of the College of Law, including 1934 graduate James Skelly Wright, a New Orleans native and former judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, who helped to bring about the desegregation of public institutions in the city; desegregation advocate the Hon. Herbert Christenberry, who both graduated and taught at Loyola; and Jack Nelson, J.D. ’50, Lolis Elie, J.D. ’59, and Janet Riley, J.D. ’52, H'05, who played major roles in the fight against segregation in New Orleans. Riley was also the college’s first tenured woman professor. Current Xavier University president Norman C. Francis, J.D. ’55, H’82, was the first African-American to graduate from the College of Law.

“When I became dean almost three years ago, I was humbled to be given the opportunity to join the ranks of educational leaders of the College of Law and help continue its path of diversity and innovation,” said College of Law Dean María Pabón López, J.D., who made history at Loyola in 2011 by becoming the first Latina law school dean in Louisiana.

Other events scheduled this year to celebrate the College of Law’s 100-year milestone include a Mardi Law Centennial Celebration party Feb. 21; the Law Alumni Association’s Centennial Cocktail Reception during the Annual Louisiana State Bar Convention in Sandestin, Fla., June 3; and a law reunion weekend Oct. 10-12.

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