Diversity at Iowa Law


Our Vision Statement
Six Words Project
Dean's Advisory Council on Diversity Members

Our Vision Statement
We at the University of Iowa College of Law take pride in our longstanding commitment to inclusion and diversity. In 1855, the University of Iowa became the first public university to admit men and women on an equal basis. Following in that tradition, the College of Law has led many diversity and equity initiatives. For example, in the 1870s we became one of the first law schools in the nation to grant a law degree to a woman and to an African-American. 

We believe diversity is integral to our educational philosophy and core mission—to prepare culturally proficient graduates who are capable of intellectual inquiry, critical and reflective thinking, and engagement. The College is a stimulating place to study, teach, work, and learn to serve the public and the legal profession. We embrace the commonalities and differences of human experience.  Thoughtful discourse and a broad exchange of ideas facilitate a better understanding of ourselves, each other, and the issues and controversies of the day.

All are welcome and respected here. Our community celebrates diversity in all of its forms; each one of us is enriched by exposure to different beliefs, opinions, worldviews, abilities, backgrounds, and identities. We believe that awareness and understanding of these differences can promote lifelong collaboration and trust within and among the communities that define and animate us. 


The College of Law welcomes each first year class by distributing the lyrics to “Anyway” and playing the song at the diversity orientation. It is a call to face the worst in the world with the best in ourselves.


People are often unreasonable, illogical,
and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway

The Roche Sisters “Zero Church” Red House Records & “The Paradoxical Commandments”© 2012 Kent M. Keith

Kent Keith, who wrote the paradoxical commandments, said, “The challenge is to always do what is right and good and true, even if others don't appreciate it. You have to keep striving, no matter what, because if you don't, many of the things that need to be done in our world will never get done."

Listen to the version by the Roche Sisters at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZjy-Qa_jz0

Each year we develop and host activities to foster diversity, fellowship, and a sense of community at the College of Law. This year, we tried something new and invited students and staff to participate in an activity to help us continue conversations about inclusion.  We asked members of the Iowa Law community to think about the word DIVERSITY. We invited people to try to express and relate your experiences, beliefs, theories, disappointments, questions and triumphs in just SIX WORDS. The words could be arranged in sentences, slogans, phrases, lists or other arrangement or fashion.  We just asked people to be thoughtful and honest. We anticipated that some responses would make people smile, feel uncomfortable, do a double-take, become angry or think differently.  Here are some of the results.

First year compilation [pdf]
Digital Signs [pdf]

Dean's Advisory Council on Diversity Members

Collins Byrd, Assistant Dean for Admissions, University of Iowa College of Law, collins-byrd@uiowa.edu
Mauricio Cardona (Class of 2013)
Specialty: Latino Diversity
Diversity Interests: Latino/a issues, Religion, Race
Enrique Carrasco, Professor and Ferguson-Carlson Fellow in Law, University of Iowa College of Law, enrique-carrasco@uiowa.edu
Maria Flores-Mills (Class of 1996)
Jacqueline Levermore (Class of 1992)
Jonathan Parkhurst (Class of 1988)
Robert Ramsey, Systems Administrator, University of Iowa College of Law, robert-ramsey@uiowa.edu
Dennis Ryan (Class of 1984) Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP, Minneapolis, dennis.ryan@FaegreBD.com
Specialty: Commercial Finance (focusing on insolvency matters); Mergers & Acquisitions
Diversity Interests: Improving the "pipeline" of diverse applicants to law school; mentoring law students and new lawyers.
Ranie Thompson (Class of 1996) Managing Attorney, Foreclosure Defense Unit, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, New Orleans, rthompson@slls.org
Specialty: Consumer Debt Collection Defense, Foreclosure Defense, Bankruptcy
Diversity Interest: Mentoring.  Interest in increased diversity and inclusion in the legal profession as well as the exploration of diversity in other institutions or social structures.
Jennifer Wang (Class of 2011)
Sarah Wheelock (Class of 2004)
Shera Wiegler (Class of 2004) - Attorney, Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP, Chicago, swiegler@smbtrials.com
Specialty: Civil Litigation (medical malpractice defense)
Diversity Interest: LGBTQ
Joshua Williams (Class of 2008)