By Matt Walker
Senior writer/Assistant editor, UF LAW
The University of Florida Levin College of Law was ranked No. 7 in HispanicBusiness magazine's 2011 Best Schools for Hispanics. The annual ranking lists the "graduate programs across the U.S. that embody diversity on campus," according to HispanicBusiness.
UF Law demonstrated diversity efforts in the areas of Hispanic enrollment, student services, reputation, faculty and retention rate.
"I am delighted to see that in my time as member of this faculty enrollment of Latinas/os at the college of law has doubled to better reflect the long-standing and increasing diversity of the state of Florida," said UF Law Professor and Comparative Law Director Pedro Malavet.
"As the flagship state law school, we have a particular obligation to contribute to the delivery of legal services to our state and its citizens; that purpose is best served when our student body looks more like our state," he said. "Given that Hispanics are the fastest growing group of Americans, a state like Florida, which is well ahead of this demographic curve, should be educating the next generation of leaders of the legal profession in our country."
The most recent example of this is evident in UF Law alumnus Stephen N. Zack (JD 71). Zack is immediate past-president of the American Bar Association and the first Hispanic-American to hold the position in the organization's 130-plus year existence, and was also the first Hispanic-American to be elected president of The Florida Bar. Throughout his career, Zack has been a tireless advocate of equal access to justice and upholding the constitutional rights of every citizen.
Last month, former Gov. Bob Graham and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor joined Zack in the ceremony naming Stephen N. Zack Hall at UF Law. The naming followed a gift of $800,000 from Zack and his firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner. The gift will go toward establishing an endowment fund to promote diversity at UF Law. The endowment will come to $1.3 million when it is eventually matched by the state.
UF Law has been ranked in the HispanicBusiness Best Schools for Hispanics top 10 list nine out of the past 11 years. Additionally, the law school is home to several student organizations that emphasize Hispanic diversity: Latin Law Students, Caribbean Law Students Association and the International Law Society. UF Law also participates in the UF Law Minority Mentoring Program and the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida.