American Bar Association to Honor Cynthia Nance for Advancing Diversity in Law
Posted on December 9, 2011
The former dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law will receive the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award for promoting a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Cynthia E. Nance, who now serves as the Nathan G. Gordon Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas, will be recognized at the American Bar Association midyear meeting in New Orleans on Feb. 4.
“Nance is a trailblazer, becoming both the first female and first black female dean of a college or school in the history of the University of Arkansas,” said Reginald M. Turner, chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.
Nance is a member of the American Law Institute and the Law School Admissions Council Board of Directors. She serves as chair of the Finance and Legal Affairs Committee of Law School Admissions Council. She is also a member National Association for Law Placement Foundation Board and the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section’s Council. In addition, she is past chair of the American Association of Law Schools Employment Discrimination and Labor & Employment Law Sections.
“Women, and particularly minority women, law professors look to Cyndi Nance as one of the most inspirational leaders in academia,” said Stacy L. Leeds, dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law. “She is a true trailblazer in demonstrating effective leadership as a university administrator while remaining fully engaged in social justice issues.”
Among her many honors, Nance was the recipient of the inaugural Judge Andree Layton Roaf Award, the 2009 T.E. Patterson Education Award from the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus, and the 2007 American Association for Affirmative Action Arthur A. Fletcher Award. She also was honored as the 2005 Arkansas Bar Association Outstanding Lawyer-Citizen.
Nance is one of six honorees who will be recognized with the 2012 Spirit of Excellence Award. The other honorees are:
- John W. Daniels, Jr., chairman of Quarles & Brady, LLP,
- Ivan K. Fong, general counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,
- The Honorable Petra Jimenez Maes, New Mexico Supreme Court Justice,
- The Honorable Carlos R. Moreno, retired California Supreme Court Justice, and
- Mary L. Smith president-elect of the National Native American Bar Association.
The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is a catalyst to change the legal profession to reflect the society it serves. It helps racially and ethnically diverse lawyers advance their careers and standing in the profession. Its leadership, programs and information help the profession understand and eliminate racism, bigotry and discrimination. The Commission works to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession, and thus enrich it.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.