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here. My oldest niece, Denise, who is just      What drew you to the law?                     this role, I brought faculty together with a
eight years younger than me, was the first                                                    common vision, served as a faculty advisor
to move to Texas when she attended (and              As a young person, I did not personally  for the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic
graduated from) the University of Texas         know any lawyers, but I did know that         Development, and raised $1.6 million from
Graduate School of Business. She works as       smart people were either doctors or           foundations, corporations, law firms, and
a financial analyst at IBM and has lived in     lawyers. At that time, I steered myself to    state and local government over the course
Houston for more than 20 years; she married     the study of law because I liked history,     of eight years.
a native Houstonian. My older brother, John,    business, and politics which seemed
who is my godfather, retired and moved to       a natural segue into law; plus I didn’t            Second, I have a national reputation as
Houston about five years ago to live near his   want to be a doctor since I didn’t like the   a legal scholar; I have written more than 27
daughter, Denise. His other daughter, Kim,      sight of blood! As I became more mature       articles, and I’m in the process of completing
moved down to Houston with her family           and educated and exposed to the legal         a casebook on Communications Law with
about three years ago. So there have been few   profession, I recognized that law provided    two co-authors. I have been recognized for
surprises, because I have been back and forth   the architecture and structure of our civil   leadership by the American Bar Association
visiting family in Houston for years. I guess   society. More importantly, I observed that    with the Alexander Award for creating a
the surprise is why it has taken me so long to  the law helped resolve the client’s and       law school pipeline program at St. John’s
move to Houston. It has been no surprise how    society’s sometimes seemingly intractable     School of Law and the New York State Bar
easily I have adapted to living in the great    problems. The lawyer is able to resolve the   Diversity Trailblazer Award, the Minority
state of Texas.                                 client’s problems. That is what is exciting   Media Telecommunications Association
                                                to me.                                        Trailblazer Award, the St. John’s Presidential
Tell us a bit about your                                                                      Medal, and the National People of Color
background.                                     What personal strongpoints do                 Extraordinary Service Award.
                                                you bring to the dean’s office?
     Searching for the American Dream,                                                             Third, my background and my
my parents immigrated to the United States           First, I have broad practical and        managerial approach is an asset. One Law
from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. St.        academic legal experience. I served as a      Center faculty member described me as
Vincent is a volcanic island about 150          law clerk to Federal District Court Judge     a businessman with the heart of a social
square miles in size with about 150,000         Clifford Scott Green; worked in the           engineer. Having a Master’s of Business
residents. It offers very few opportunities     corporate sector as an associate at the       Administration has allowed me to see
for the average person. To achieve a college    Wall Street office of Gaston and Snow         problems from a business perspective. I
education, a Vincentian would have to leave     and in-house counsel at NYNEX Corp.           approach matters with full deliberation
the island, which limits the opportunities,     (now Verizon), and worked in government       and collaboration. Through brainstorming
except for the most affluent. My parents        as a scholar-in-residence at the Federal      sessions with different constituents, my team
had little formal education. My father did      Communications Commission in                  works to find the best means to approach
not graduate from high school, and my           Washington, D.C. I also served as a tenured   the situation. We are looking for the best
mother completed a commercial high school       law professor at two other law schools—       ways to set us apart from the competition.
degree in the United States; however, they      Western New England University School         I have instructed my team to analyze each
were incredibly smart with a great deal of      of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts, and     matter holistically, searching for the best
business savvy and strong values. In the        St. John’s School of Law in Queens, New       ways to ensure that our decisions are made
United States, they worked in the garment       York. At St. John’s, I was also the director  to improve the overall reputation of the Law
district of New York City as a presser and      of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil       Center and in a manner that helps students
a seamstress. They saved their money,           Rights and Economic Development. In           pass the bar and build careers, attracts highly
bought a two-family home in Brooklyn and                                                      qualified applicants, and encourages faculty
eventually opened several women’s ready-                                                      to develop as scholars and teachers.
to-wear shops in Bedford-Stuyvesant and
Harlem.                                                                                                   New York Reception

     My parents’ life story has served
as a sustaining example and constant
inspiration to me. It has taught me the
power of having big dreams; it has taught
me that all things are possible even if the
odds seem stacked against you; it taught me
the importance of hard work, self-sacrifice,
and self-discipline in order to succeed;
lastly, it taught me that the United States
can be the land of opportunity, especially
for those who achieve a strong education.

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