1994 DAA Recipient
Norma V. Cantu, J.D.
Professor of Law and Education, The University of Texas at Austin School of Law & Education
"The key to success is through education."
Norma V. Cantu began her college education at TSC after graduating with honors from Brownsville High School in 1971. While at TSC she was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society . She continued her studies at Pan American University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in 1973.
Four years later, when most students were finishing up their undergraduate work, Cantu graduated from Harvard Law School at the age of 22 to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer. She worked 14 years for Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Her work included high profile education-related lawsuits aimed at improving educational opportunities for Hispanics In South Texas.
President Bill Clinton, calling her a "highly talented individual with unique qualifications," nominated Cantu to lead the office of Civil Rights for the Department of Education. She was sworn into office in May 1993.
As assistant secretary, Cantu is responsible for enforcing the federal civil rights statutes that protect the rights of students to an equal educational opportunity without regard to race, color, national origin, sex or disability.