In celebration of African American History month, Pepperdine University School of Law hosted Cynthia E. Nance, dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville, Arkansas. Nance gave a speech titled, "Reflections on Faith and the Law," on Feb. 19.
In front of a packed audience of law students, faculty, staff, and high school students visiting from Jordan High School, in South Los Angeles, Nance encouraged aspiring lawyers "to approach the law with the heart of a servant."
Earlier in the day, Nance spoke with the high school students. She told the group how she grew up in South Chicago and how she worked her way through college and law school. At several points in her journey, she thought she might drop out of school, but there was always someone there to encourage her. Nance says, "I would meet people who would say, 'I've saved money to buy a couch, but I'd rather to give it to you for school.'" She told the students to stay in school so they could achieve their dreams and serve as an example to other minority students.
Nance has been dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law since 2006. She has focused her teaching and research on labor and employment law, poverty law, and torts. She earned her J.D. with distinction and M.A. in finance from the University of Iowa.
Prior to teaching law, Nance worked as a labor educator at the University of Iowa Labor Center and was a faculty fellow in the law school. She has presented academic papers at Yale University, University of Illinois, George Washington University Law School, and Franklin Pierce Law Center. She is licensed in Iowa and is a member of the American, National, Arkansas, and Washington County Bar Associations and the Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers.
Nance is also a member of the Arkansas Bar Association's Commission on Diversity and the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee, Phi Delta Phi, and the W. B. Putman American Inn of Court. She is co-chair of the American Bar Association's Section of Labor and Employment Law: Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee. She is a board member of the Law School Admissions Council and a board member of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
Nance was a recipient of a 2007 American Association for Affirmative Action Arthur A. Fletcher Award and the 2006 NIA Professional Achievement Award. She was also honored as the 2005 Arkansas Bar Association Outstanding Lawyer-Citizen. In 2004, Nance received the University of Arkansas Alumni Association's Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for Public Service and was recognized in 2003 as a Northwest Arkansas Woman of Distinction and a Northwest Arkansas Martin Luther King Individual Achievement Award recipient. She was selected for inclusion in Who's Who in America, 2004 edition, and Who's Who of American Women, 25th Edition, 2006-07. She is past chair of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Employment Discrimination and Labor and Employment Law Sections.
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