Diversity Through The Years
Timeline - 1960 to Present
1951 – Seton Hall Law is founded. Miriam T. Rooney appointed dean of Seton Hall Law, the first woman to become dean of an accredited law school in the United States.
1977 – Seton Hall Law launches the Legal Education Opportunity (LEO) Program, an academic support program committed to the success of students from disadvantaged backgrounds during law school and in the legal profession. The LEO cohort of 2011 is pictured with Professor Shavar Jeffries, Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice (far right).
1979 – Seton Hall Law is chosen by the State of New Jersey to build the Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies, for college students with socio-economic and/or educational disadvantages and an interest in the law, with the primary purpose of increasing the number of disadvantaged students who apply and gain admission to accredited law schools. Professor Brenda Saunders Hampden is named Director of the Institute.
1984 – Appointed by Governor Thomas Kean, Judge Shirley A. Tolentino ’71 (1943-2010) becomes the first African American woman to ascend to the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey.
1998 – Marie White Bell ‘73 becomes the first African American female appointed to the Superior Court of New Jersey in Burlington County.
2002 – Dean Patrick E. Hobbs establishes the Haiti Rule of Law project, cementing a close relationship between Seton Hall Law and L’Ecole Superieure Catholique de Droit de Jérémie, a law school located in Jérémie, Haiti.
2003 – Karol Corbin Walker ’86 becomes the first African American, and the first female President of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
2003 – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, then a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, speaks at Seton Hall Law School.
2004 - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) presents the Sandra Day O’Connor Medal of Honor to Judge Maryanne Trump Barry of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
2005 – The Dorothy Day Scholarship is established, awarded to highly qualified students from disadvantaged backgrounds that are underrepresented in the legal profession.
2006 – Seton Hall Law supports the launch of the New Jersey Legal Education Empowerment Program (NJ LEEP), which exposes middle school and high school inner-city youth to careers in the law and focuses on preparation for college through programs held both during the school year and in the summer. Pictured: Craig Livermore, Founder and Executive Director of NJ LEEP (center) with NJ LEEP students, Summer 2008.
2008 – Dean Hobbs announces the formation of the Dean’s Diversity Council, an advisory board comprising students, alumni, staff and faculty members who assist the law school administration in implementing its core value of promoting diversity in the legal profession. Professor Solangel Maldonado (pictured, center) is appointed founding chair.
2008 – The Legal Education Opportunities program celebrates its 30th anniversary. Pictured are Kecia Clark '99 (left) and Professor Christina Bennett '94, Director of the Legal Education Opportunities Program.
2010 – Diversity Council member, Hany Mawla ’98, is the first Arab-American Muslim to ascend to the Superior Court in the New Jersey.
2010 – The Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies celebrates its 30th anniversary.Pictured: Sergio Suarez ’14, a participant in the Pre-Legal program and a presenter at the Anniversary celebration.
2010 – Judge Tahgrid Hikmet, the first female judge in Jordan, also the first Arab Muslim to serve as Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, receives the Sandra Day O’Connor Medal of Honor.
2010 – Professor Brenda Saunders Hampden, Director of the Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies, is honored during the 50th anniversary of the High Point Woolworth’s sit-ins, the first such demonstrations staged by high school students in the United States. Professor Saunders Hampden, a pioneer in the civil rights movement, desegregated High Point, North Carolina’s schools when she was 12 (pictured right, with her sister Lynn), and led the High Point sit-ins at the age of 13.
2010 – Seton Hall Law School hosts the Third National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference, the largest gathering of diverse law faculty in the United States. Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. serves as the conference keynote speaker.
2011 – The first cohort of NJ LEEP’s “College Bound” high school seniors head to college, with 10 attending Top 100 schools including Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Stevens Institute of Technology and Drew University. Pictured at left is NJ LEEP graduate Fatimah Jafiq, who attends Bryn Mawr College.
2011 – Victor Campos ’13 becomes the first recipient of the prestigious Arent, Fox Diversity Scholarship.
2011 – Two Seton Hall Law students are honored by the National Association of Women Judges: Chrishana White ’13 (left), is awarded the Equal Access to Justice Scholarship; Megan Altman ’12 is awarded the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholarship.
2013 – Paulette Brown '76 is unanimously elected as the President of the American Bar Association for the 2015-16 term. She is the first woman of color to serve in the role.