The Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Latin American Law is being established within the School of Law at The University of Texas at Austin.
The center will help support an already vigorous partnership between the university and Latin American colleagues and honor former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a 1967 graduate of the School of Law and a longtime supporter of the university.
As a prelude to the founding of the center, a chair in Latin American Law was established in Hutchison's honor in 2004. Today, the total market value of this chair stands at more than $2.5 million, and these funds will be used to support faculty and student exchanges and promote teaching and research on legal issues linking Latin America and the United States.
"We are so proud to have this new center named for such an esteemed alumna of the Law School," said Ward Farnsworth, UT School of Law dean. "Sen. Hutchison's contributions throughout her career emulate what we are trying to achieve in the preparation of our students. This center will enhance our efforts, especially in the important area of building stronger relations with Latin America."
Hutchison is a distinguished alumna and staunch advocate for federal funding for higher education. She retired last year after serving for nearly 20 years as a United States senator from Texas. She is active in supporting both the School of Law and the LBJ School of Public Affairs and has ardently promoted the importance of research and diversity within higher education.
"Trade and commerce within our hemisphere should be a priority. Strengthening the economies of our neighbors is good for them and economically advantageous for the U.S. The University of Texas Law School is perfectly positioned to be the center of excellence for anyone wanting to represent companies doing business in Central and South America," said Hutchison.
"The center will sponsor symposia, student exchanges and scholars-in-residence to enhance the opportunities for students and faculty to learn the legal systems and form relationships for future collaboration. The great investment made through the years by the University of Texas at Austin and its alumni have already established the internationally recognized Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Latin American Law will add another dimension to the focus of UT on being the pre-eminent American academic institution for Latin American studies in business, culture and law."
UT Austin's School of Law is one of the top-ranked public law schools in the nation. Among its top-tier faculty are several professors who are also affiliated with the university's Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and recognized worldwide for their expertise.
"The University of Texas also has a long and cherished relationship with Sen. Hutchison. Her contributions to public life are well known," said UT Austin President Bill Powers, who will begin serving as chair of the Association of American Universities this fall. "We're fortunate that UT Austin is where she has chosen to leave a legacy at this point in her career. This is an exciting new venture and new institution, and I thank everyone who has contributed to its creation."