Distinguished Jurist and University of California Davis School of Law Professor Emeritus Cruz Reynoso (shown here with Dean Lewis, left, and Professor Tom Romero, right) provided an inspiring presentation on the Struggle for Social Justice (audio here) as the Juris Fiesta keynote speaker on March 14, 2009.
Professor Cruz Reynoso was the first Latino person to serve on the California Supreme Court. He served as an Associate Justice from 1982 to 1987 and is credited with helping to extend additional protections for the environment, individual liberties and civil rights. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor, from President Clinton in 2000, the same year he received the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award in Education. He served as the Vice Chair on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1994-2004 and was a professor at the UCLA School of Law from 1991-2001. Professor Reynoso also is the inaugural holder of the UC Davis School of Law's Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality, which recognizes outstanding scholarship and teaching, along with a commitment to preserving and expanding the understanding of "the virtues necessary of a great republic."
Jurist Fiesta is a major annual event at Hamline, drawing more than 200 members of Minnesota's bench and bar and featuring prominent Latino legal educators, including Professor Elizabeth Iglesias from the University of Miami School of Law and Jose Roberto (Beto) Juarez, Jr., dean of the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. Funds raised at the event have led to the establishment of a scholarship for Latino law students at Hamline, which this year was presented to 3L student Dulce Mendoza (right).