Former Loyola Law Dean the subject of new portrait in the faculty library

The unveiling of a portrait at in the faculty library at Loyola University drew a big crowd recently. The woman in the painting is Maria Pabón Lopez, former Dean of Loyola University School Law School.

Rev. Kevin Wildes, the President of the university, unveiled the painting to a host of family, friends, and faculty members. Joseph Q. Daily, a classically trained artist in Vestal, New York, created the piece.

The painting’s subject, Pabón, was lauded in the ceremony for her work on immigration rights. Pabón served as Law School Dean from 2011-15.

Ramona G. Fernandez, Clinic Professor and Associate Director of the Loyola Law Clinic, congratulated her colleague and talked about Pabn’s prestigious career in academia and her expertise in immigrants’ rights, as well as her various contributions as a prolific author. 

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Pabón received her undergraduate in Religion from Princeton University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where she was the Associate Editor of the Law Review.

After graduation from law school, she worked for government agencies, nonprofit, law firms and academia. Her publications include topics such as the rights of immigrants in the United States and the impact of immigrant nurses on the nursing shortage in this country. Her book, “Persistent Inequality: Contemporary Realities in The Education of Undocumented Latino/a Children” was specifically praised.

One of only four Latina Deans in the United States, Pabón was also the first Puerto Rican Law Dean in the nation. Prior to coming to Loyola, she was a Professor at Indiana McKinney School of Law and also served on the faculty at the University of Missouri Columbia School of Law.

She has received numerous awards, including the 2008 Diversity Attorney in Practice Award from the Indiana Lawyer Association and the 2007 Rabb Emison Diversity Award from the Indiana State Bar Association. She has also won awards from the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the Travis County Texas Women Lawyers Association (for contributions to the minority community) and from the University of Missouri Columbia School of Law, where she was a recipient of Faculty Performance Shares.   

In 2013, Hispanic Business named Pabón one of the 50 most influential Hispanics in the U.S. In addition, New Orleans City Business recognized her as a Woman of the Year and the New Orleans Living magazine recognized her as a top Latina innovator.

She has been honored by the National Latino Law Students Association with an Excellence in Leadership Award, and has been selected twice by the National Diversity Council as a Most Powerful and Influential Woman in Louisiana. In 2010, she was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI), one of the highest honors in the legal profession. 

Fernandez said: “Pabón came to Loyola when the College of Law was facing some financial challenges and she came with determination and immediately went to work.”

In addition, Fernandez said that during her tenure as Dean, Pabón oversaw the year-long centennial celebration of the College of Law and the College was selected as one of two law schools in the country (of 97) to receive a grant from the American Bar Association. That organization helped create the Loyola Incubator Program, Fernandez said. The program allows five graduates to address the legal needs of poor and moderate-income people. Also, Pabón brought the Columbia University Law Summer Program to Loyola and created the Panama Summer Law Program, Fernandez said.

Pabón thanked Loyola and the administration for their support of her work and the installation of her portrait in the Faculty Library Gallery and thanked her colleagues, friends and two daughters, Marina and Cora.

Currently, she is enjoying teaching at the College of Law and being the Director of the Masters Program. Following the unveiling, Rev. Lawrence W. Moore, Interim Dean of the Law School and Carlos Ponce, the Consul of Mexico in New Orleans, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Loyola Law School and the Consulate, agreeing to provide scholarships to Mexican students enrolled at the School.

Marrero health fair

The Marrero Seventh-Day Adventist Church will hold a free health fair on Sunday, Sept, 25, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Marrero Lions Club, located at 2334 Barataria Blvd. in Marrero. There will be free check-ups and screenings, cooking demonstrations, live exercise classes, health education on a variety of subjects, as well as children’s activities. The National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana will have free kidney health screenings and consultations with a medical professional.

Clinical and clerical bilingual volunteers (in English and Spanish) will be there to take care of the needs of the Spanish-speaking people. For more information, call James Anderson at 504.610.3299 or Derek Howell, at 504.220.1556.

Ana Gershanik writes about the Hispanic and Latino communities in the New Orleans area. Send news and events to 

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