Learn more about the awardees.
In addition to celebrating the hard work of the University of Arizona Law class of 2022, the LawCat community will celebrate the professional contributions and service of three outstanding alumni at this year’s convocation ceremony on May 14.
The Law College Association board nominated Shannon O’Loughlin for the University of Arizona Alumni Association's (UAAA) Professional Achievement Award, given to a person who has attained prominence in their field.
She will be presented with the award during this year’s convocation along with Rita Meiser (‘76) who will receive the UAAA Distinguished Citizen Award and the Honorable Rosemary Marquez (‘93), receiving the UAAA Public Service Award.
Learn more about the three awardees:
Shannon O’Loughlin (’01)
UAAA Professional Achievement Award
Shannon O’Loughlin has practiced law for more than 20 years and is a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University. She is former chief of staff to the National Indian Gaming Commission, where she assisted in the development and implementation of national policy throughout the agency and oversaw the agency’s public affairs, technology, compliance and finance divisions. O’Loughlin has also served Indian Country in the private sector as an attorney, leading a large national firm’s Indian law practice group that worked to strengthen, maintain and protect Indian national sovereignty, self-determination and culture.
In 2013, she was appointed by Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally Jewell to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Review Committee, and in 2015 she was appointed by President Barack Obama as the first Native American to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee within the State Department.
O’Loughlin received her BA in American Indian Studies from California State University, Long Beach and joint MA and JD degrees from the University of Arizona in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy. She is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Rita Meiser (’76)
UAAA Distinguished Citizen Award
Rita Meiser is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Arizona College of Law. She clerked for the Honorable James A. Walsh, U.S. District Court, before joining the law firm of Jennings, Strouss and Salmon, where she worked for 28 years. She then established her own solo practice. While Meiser worked extensively in the employment law area, she is best known for her work in the area of adoption law.
Among other awards, she has received the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s prestigious Angels in Adoption Award, the President’s Call to Service Award, the University of Arizona College of Law’s Outstanding Graduate Award, and was a Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Athena Award Finalist.
Throughout her career, Meiser was active in many professional organizations. She was a founding member and past president of the American Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys and past president of the Arizona Adoption Coalition. She is a past president and emeritus member of the University of Arizona Law College Association, and still actively serves on the Board of Visitors. She served as Judge Pro Tem in the Maricopa County Superior Court, among other professional boards and committees.
Rosemary Marquez (’93)
UAAA Public Service Award
Judge Rosemary Márquez was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by President Obama in 2014. Prior to joining the bench, Judge Márquez engaged in both private practice and government service. Her experience in private practice centered on criminal defense in both state and federal courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She also litigated personal injury matters, civil forfeitures, immigration matters and appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Her background in government includes serving as a deputy county attorney for Pima County, assistant legal defender for Pima County, assistant federal public defender and as a volunteer hearing officer for the Law Enforcement Merit System Council.
Judge Márquez received her BA from the University of Arizona in 1990 and her JD from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1993.