April 10, 2023 — Family, friends, faculty, and students of University of Houston Law Center Professor Emeritus Stephen Zamora gathered to launch a new book, “Essays in Honor of Professor Stephen T. Zamora: A Life Between Mexico and the United States.” The book is a collection of 19 essays written by colleagues and friends reflecting on Zamora’s commitment to Mexican law, education, and the promotion of U.S. -Mexico cooperation.
Zamora joined the University of Houston Law Center faculty in 1978 and become the first Hispanic dean in the history of the Law Center in the mid-1990s. He passed away in 2016.
“We are working to maintain Professor Zamora’s legacy. We are expanding our research projects, applying for multidisciplinary grants, increasing our internship agreements with Mexican institutions, and working toward legal and economic understanding between Mexico and the U.S. through seminars, lectures, and professional training programs,” wrote Alfonso López de la Osa Escribano in the Introduction of “Essays.”
Escribano, a co-editor of “Essays” and Dean of Law and International Relations at Nebrija University in Madrid, Spain, spoke at the UH Law Center event about how Zamora was the recognized authority for research between the U.S. and Mexico.
“This book is to honor and remember him;” said Escribano. “He inspired us to be the best version of ourselves, he was a true leader.”
Part of Zamora’s notable legacy is the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, which he founded at the University of Houston Law Center in 2012. The Center for U.S. and Mexican Law provides cross-border education and critical study of legal aspects of U.S.–Mexico relations.
The current center director, Research Assistant Professor Julian Cardenas, served as the event moderator.
James W. Skelton Jr., “Essays” co-editor and a former adjunct professor of law at UHLC, was a very close friend of Zamora. In speaking about his relationship with Zamora, Skelton’s voice filled with emotion.
“He was always upbeat, he was larger than life and one of the greatest men we’ve ever known;” said Skelton. “Whenever I talk about Steve that way, I get choked up.” Skelton went on to say how Zamora made everyone he encountered feel important and how much he valued friendships.
Friendships like the one Zamora formed with Gabriel Cavazos Villanueva, Arbitrator and Senior Legal Advisor with the consulting firm Monarch Global Strategies. Villanueva co-authored the book and wanted to highlight how Zamora connected people and nations.
“Steve wore a T-shirt with the word integrationist on it,” said Villanueva. “[He was] a strong promoter of a more integrated North America and above all a great promoter of everything that was Mexican.”
The final speaker of the evening and another co-author of the book was UH Law Center Alumna Sofia Adrogue. She spoke about Zamora as a changemaker and someone who would gather people across the divide between the U.S. and Mexico.
“He saw the table as being thousands of kilometers wide bringing everyone together,” said Adrogue. “He was never divisive, working together to get things done for the sake of society.”
“Essays in Honor of Professor Stephen T. Zamora: A Life Between Mexico and the United States” is published by the University of Houston’s Arte Publico Press
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