From Helen Padilla, director of the American Indian Law Center:
To the Pre-Law Summer Institute Alumni, Professors, and Family,
The American Indian Law Center, Inc. regrets to inform our vast network of Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI) alumni that UNM School of Law Professor Emeritus and former Dean Fred Hart passed away on June 6, 2021. In 1967, Professor Fred Hart and Dean Tom Christopher created a Special Scholarship Program in Law for American Indians at UNM School of Law. This Special Scholarship Program was the pre-cursor to the Pre-Law Summer Institute. In the 53 years since that pivotal summer, the Pre-Law Summer Institute has remained faithful to its mission to prepare American Indians and Alaska Natives for the rigors of law school by essentially replicating the first semester of law school in an intensive two-month program. For decades, PLSI alumni have been leaders throughout Indian Country and the United States, including U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who is the first indigenous member of a President’s cabinet in our country’s history. Professor Hart probably never imagined that the summer program he helped to launch eventually would produce a Secretary of the Interior and countless other leaders. Nonetheless, we at the American Indian Law Center remain ever grateful for and mindful of his role in creating the most successful pre-law prep program in the U.S. for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Fred Hart’s life teaches us all that the efforts of one person can make a difference that echoes far and wide across generations. We offer our sincere condolences to Professor Hart’s family and friends.
We interviewed Professor Hart in 2017 as part of PLSI’s 50th Anniversary celebration. The PLSI History page link: https://www.ailc-inc.org/plsi-history/
The video interview with Fred Hart is here: