St. Mary's Law Journal


Dean Emeritus Charles E. Cantú has worked at St. Mary’s University since 1966 when Dean Ernest A. Raba first hired him. He served as the youngest law professor in the nation at the age of twenty-five, and the first full-time Hispanic law professor. After a considerable tenure working at all three locations of St. Mary’s University School of Law and serving under four of the school’s most recent former deans, this article offers his personal recollections and observations of the history of the law school from the 1960s to the present.

This article is the culmination of a ten-hour oral history that Dean Cantú recorded during the summer and fall of 2017 with his long-time faculty colleague, Professor Vincent R. Johnson. The recordings were made at the Blume Library of St. Mary’s University under the direction and supervision of Lisa Sanchez. In addition to Dean Cantú’s recollections, other members of the faculty assisted in putting together this oral history, as the article includes comments from Professor’s David Dittfurth, Vincent R. Johnson, Aloysius A. Leopold and Bonita K. Roberts.

Dean Cantú recounts the history of the law school as he remembers it, including his recollection of time at the downtown campus, the move to St. Mary’s University, his fundraising efforts over the years, and finally, his time serving as Dean of the law school. Additionally, Dean Cantú discusses the growth in faculty and the student body throughout the years. Ultimately, this historical piece commemorates the legacy of former Dean Charles E. Cantú and the impact he had on St. Mary’s University School of Law.

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St. Mary's University School of Law


Katherine Spiser Rios