Presented by the MALSA Reunion Committee

The scholarship honors Dean Emeritus Robert B. Yegge who served as Dean of the University of Denver College of Law (DU Law) from 1965-1977, and his contribution to the Hispanic community.

In 1967, Dean Yegge made a commitment to increase the number of Hispanic lawyers in the Southwest through a unique minority scholarship program at DU Law. There were only 14 Hispanic lawyers in Colorado. One year later in 1968, Dean Yegge helped create the ABA’s National Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) and established a national scholarship program to increase minority lawyers in the U.S. Dean Yegge’s commitment led to a significant increase in the number of Hispanic students admitted to DU Law and the number of Hispanic attorneys practicing in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and California.

The first Hispanic DU Law students admitted through Dean Yegge’s program started the Mexican American Law Student Association (MALSA) that exists today as the Latino Law Student Association (LLSA). Upon graduating from DU Law, these newly-minted lawyers founded the Chicano Bar Association in 1977; later renamed the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA). These graduates have become successful judges, law firm partners, business owners and lawyers of public interest & governmental agencies, as well as, leaders in the community.

In 1978, the Yegge Scholarship Fund was established by the DU Law Alumni Council and friends of Dean Yegge. The CHBA created a second Yegge Fund in 1991, specifically to assist Hispanic law students and honor Dean Yegge’s contribution to the Hispanic community. Lawyers Joe Montaño (’53), Vivian Martinez (’69), Kenneth Padilla (’70), Ralph Torres (’70, Chair), Roman Maes III (’71), Julian Padilla (’71), Robert Maes (’73), Ruth Casarez (’73), Arthur Nieto (’75), Alfredo Peña (’75), Rene Ramirez (’77), Flora Rodriguez Russell (’80), Joe Chavez (’82), Jennifer Rivera (’83) and John Barajas (’84) served on the founding committee. Both funds were merged into the existing Yegge Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Dean Yegge ensured, upon his passing, that much of his estate was donated to the fund.

As of today,

  • More than 640 Hispanic men and women have graduated from DU Law since Dean Yegge started the program in 1967. While this increase is impressive, these 640 Hispanic alumni constitute 4.5% of the living 14,330 DU Law alumni living.
  • There are an estimated 500 Hispanic lawyers in Colorado. Only 3% of all lawyers in the United States are Latino; Hispanic women lawyers constitute even less –1.3% or 13,000 – of all lawyers.
  • As Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the country and Colorado (nearing 20% of the state’s total population), there is a greater and ever-growing need for Latino lawyers.
  • The Yegge Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance – about $40,000 annually – to DU Latino law students or those who show dedication to serving the Hispanic community. In the last 10 years, over 30 Hispanic law students have received awards. Tuition for full time DU Law students is $37,830 per year.
  • The MALSA Reunion Committee was organized to benefit the Yegge Scholarship Fund by hosting the first reunion of DU Law Hispanic alumni to be held at DU Law, June 22-23, 2012. The weekend features a one-day CLE program presented by Hispanic judges and lawyers. The Committee’s goal is to increase the Yegge Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s endowment by at least $50,000.

By becoming a sponsor of the DU MALSA Reunion Weekend, you contribute to the legacy of Dean Yegge and renew the promise to continue the advancement of Hispanic law students in completing their legal education at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Join us!