Dean Emerita Toni Massaro to Deliver Keynote Address at 2024 University of Arizona Law Convocation

March 27, 2024
Old Main at the University of Arizona

It is 8:30 a.m. on a Monday morning and Dean Emerita Toni M. Massaro begins her Equal Protection course to a classful of law students, many of whom are set to graduate this spring semester.  


“Her lectures are captivating,” said SBA President and third-year law student Kyran Brown. “Having spare time on Monday and Tuesday mornings as a 3L would be nice, but many of the Class of 2024, including myself, could not have passed on learning about the Fourteenth Amendment from Professor Massaro.” 

For this and many reasons, the Class of 2024 invited University of Arizona Law Dean Emerita and Regents Professor Toni M. Massaro to deliver the keynote address for the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law convocation ceremony on May 11, 2024.  

“Professor Massaro has had an indelible career and has strived to make the law school a valuable institution of learning and service throughout the years,” added Brown. 

A noted constitutional scholar, Massaro has taught at University of Arizona Law since 1990 and served as dean, the first woman to hold that position, from 1999-2009. Since that time, she has continued to teach at the college as well as serving as the executive director of the Agnese Nelms Haury Program on Social and Environmental Justice at the University of Arizona, and President of the J. Byron McCormick Society of Law and Public Affairs. 

Her academic scholarship focuses on constitutional law, with an emphasis on freedom of expression, equality and substantive due process. Massaro has also written on the use of shame penalties in criminal law, artificial intelligence and freedom of speech and the constitutional implications of the Flint water contamination crisis. She is the author of “The Arc of Due Process in American Constitutional Law,” “Constitutional Literacy: A Core Curriculum for a Multicultural Nation,” and “Civil Procedure: Cases and Problems.”  

“I know I speak for many people in this building and beyond when I say that learning from Professor Massaro is a profoundly moving and inspiring experience,” said third year law student Molly Case, who co-wrote the speaker invitation to Massaro. “She brings constitutional law and history to life, introducing students to Supreme Court justices as if they were old friends (or occasionally mere professional acquaintances) and illuminating the tectonic forces at play behind every case the Court decides. By situating her courses within the broader historical context in which legal doctrines evolve, Professor Massaro shows her students what entering the legal field can--and should--mean.” 

Massaro has also taught at Washington and Lee University, Stanford University, UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Florida, and Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. She was in private practice in Chicago with Vedder, Price, Kaufman and Kammholz 

She received her BS, with highest distinction, from Northwestern University and her JD from the College of William and Mary, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the William and Mary Law Review. 

“In my experience, Professor Massaro sets a high bar because she believes fiercely in her students, both respecting our ability to engage with the course content and entrusting us with the responsibilities of the profession in which we seek to practice,” said Case. “In a moment when the legal landscape feels especially fraught and uncertain, learning from Professor Massaro has undeniably helped me to embrace one of her oft-invoked phrases: I may not be optimistic, but I am always hopeful.” 

For details on University of Arizona Law’s 2024 convocation ceremony, visit