Novoa is a Professor Emeritus of Law at St. Mary’s School of Law, being the first Mexican American woman to receive tenure at the University. Novoa graduated with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1982 and was in private practice in San Antonio prior to joining St. Mary’s.
Professor Novoa taught in clinical education for twenty-five years. She was Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Pro Bono Services, and also the Director of Externships at St. Mary’s Law School. She stepped down as Associate Dean in 2015 in preparation for retirement. In addition to Clinical Education she has primarily taught Family Law, Texas Community Property, and Child Protective Services Practice
Novoa’s profound spirituality and deep commitment to social justice is evident from her life-long advocacy for the poor and marginalized and particularly for victims of family violence. Prior to entering law school, she was a social worker, and, while in private practice, she represented a large number of working poor and handled numerous pro bono cases.
In addition to other community activities she co-founded and supervised the “Ask-a-Lawyer” pro bono program; was chair of the San Antonio/Bexar County Continuum of Care for the Homeless; and has been a member of the Haven for Hope Board of Directors since its inception.
Honors and Awards
Professor Novoa has been recognized by numerous groups for her commitment to and work with the poor. She has been honored as a Distinguished Faculty Member for the School of Law, received the Marianist Heritage Award, the Alice Franzke Feminist Award and the Diocesan’s Chancellor’s Award. The St. Mary’s University Alumni Association recognized her with the Gateway Million+ Club Award on Jan. 2015 for having raised well over $1,000,000 for Clinical Education and Pro Bono.