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Our Commitment to DEI

It is the variety of our identities, experiences and viewpoints that create the family tapestry of St. Mary’s School of Law, where all are welcomed and celebrated.

– Patricia Roberts
Dean | Charles E. Cantu Distinguished Professor of Law

St. Mary’s University School of Law Statement on Belonging

St. Mary’s University School of Law celebrates diversity in our community. As both a Marianist and Hispanic-serving institution, we are proud of our vibrant and strong community, which values the dignity of all its members and fosters a meaningful, respectful, and robust learning experience. We recognize diversity, equity, and inclusion as cornerstones of social and economic justice. We strive to create a supportive environment, honoring diverse perspectives, where every individual feels welcome and has a place at the table.

Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mission Statement

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to educational excellence and the advancement of justice. The Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion maintains a deep commitment to building an equitable and inclusive working and learning environment that supports all students, staff, and faculty. As we continue to welcome and learn from diverse perspectives, experiences, and approaches, our community grows even stronger. The Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is committed to promoting these values and opportunities throughout the law school.

Diversity at a Glance




Pro Bono Hours Recorded in 2020




Highest Hispanic student population nationally

“While it is not technically necessary to have your identity and background mirrored by professors or peers, I was comforted by the fact there were still a few in the room I knew faced similar struggles. It was also important to know who I could lean on and comfortably express my frustrations without forms of toxic positivity or blasé responses.”

-Natalie Garcia, Class of 2022

“These strides toward justice will get bigger, but that does not stop the uphill battle students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, and women will ultimately face at any institution. Know your power, and know that at St. Mary’s you can create a great academic experience for yourself and flourish personally, too.”

-Jasleen Shokar, Class of 2022

“The vast majority of students at St. Mary’s have been helpful to me and never make me feel like I am othered or separate. I found it very easy to talk to people and make friends even with folk of an entirely different upbringing than me.”

-Jordan Navarro, Class of 2022

“We each have a unique set of talents and strengths, and strive for an environment that is not only welcoming but fully inclusive. We are only as strong as we are united, and I feel that this is something that the school has recognized and strives to reinforce throughout our campus community every day.”

-Rosa Peterson, Class of 2022

Affinity Student Groups

  • Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
  • Black Law Students Association
  • First Generation Professionals
  • Hispanic Law Students Association
  • OUTlaw
  • The Scholar: The Review of Race and Social Justice
  • Women’s Law Association

DEI Committee Faculty & Staff Membership

The Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is comprised of current students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

Alan K. Haynes

Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs

Robin Thorner

Assistant Dean for Career Strategy

Anne Burnham

Supervising Attorney | Clinical Professor of Law

Catherine Casiano

Assistant Dean for Admissions

Afton Cavanaugh

Director of Law Success and Service Professor of Law | Service Professor

Stacy Fowler

Professor | Technical Services Librarian

Robert H. Hu

Director of the Law Library | Professor of Law

Frank Garza

Assistant Director for Law Communications

Chenglin (Gary) Liu

Professor of Law

Zoe E. Niesel

Director of Assessment and Statistics | Associate Professor of Law

Dayla S. Pepi

Associate Director of Clinical Education | Clinical Professor of Law

Amanda Rivas

Director of Externships

Stephanie Stevens

Clinical Professor of Law | Director of the Summer Skills Enhancement Program

Kimberly Underdown

Director, Student Engagement and Employment

Grace Walle

Law Chaplain