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South Texas Law Hosts ‘Groundbreaking’ Ceremony for Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center

Home Law School News South Texas Law Hosts ‘Groundbreaking’ Ceremony for Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center

With a powerful blow from his sledgehammer on April 19, 2024, Houston trial attorney Benny Agosto, Jr. ’95 officially kicked off the construction for the Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center’s new home at South Texas College of Law Houston.

The center supports STCL Houston’s mission – and its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion,  access, and social justice. The Agosto Diversity Center’s work has been underway for more than two years, propelled by a generous gift from Agosto and his wife Nichole in late 2021. Agosto is the managing partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner.

“A potter tears down and rebuilds a pot, making it even more beautiful. That’s what we’re doing here — tearing down to build a wonderful new space for the Agosto Diversity Center,” said Benny Agosto, Jr., speaking at the event. “Nikki and I give God the glory for all the blessings we have that allow us to bless this law school. We are grateful for all the ways this law school has blessed our family. And we are grateful that, at a time when our country is so divided, the Agosto Diversity Center brings people together – all people, from every background, color, creed, nationality, and viewpoint.”

In two years, the center has selected a senior director, named diversity fellows each semester, developed a Pipeline Program with four area universities, and conducted a series of workshops, lectures, and other special events throughout the year.

This next phase of the center’s development will focus on creating the physical infrastructure to support the Agosto Diversity Center’s long-range goals.

“I call the Agosto Diversity Center a think-tank because we can think about ways to better prepare students for what is to come,” Agosto said. “We will seek more ways to support all students in law school and beyond. Everyone has a role in this, and we will be successful together. We’ll continue to do great things, to the glory of God. Now let’s tear down the walls!”

After knocking out a number of walls on the third floor of the Tower Building on the law school campus, Lance Construction will build out designs created by PBK Architects, Inc. The architectural firm’s passion is to “create environments that improve how people work, play, heal, discover and learn.”

“When JFK committed America to going to the moon, he did so not because it was easy, but because it was hard,” said President and Dean Michael F. Barry. “And right now, even discussions of diversity can be hard. And that is why the Agosto Center is so important – because it allows us to engage in hard conversations to foster a community that is welcoming to all. In the most diverse city in the country, this center and its work are important to our community, our professors and staff, and to the students we serve.”

The rebuilt space will be designed and furnished to encourage students, staff, faculty, and alumni to gather and discuss, study, work collaboratively, research, and grow together as a community.”

“This work is very important and very personal to me,” said Vice President for DEI and Professor Shelby Moore. “The Agosto gift brought our dream for this center to fruition, giving us a foundation to build upon. Benny is always telling us, ‘You’re doing  a good job.’ Benny and Nichole, thank you for everything. Thank you for making this good work possible.”

The Agosto Diversity Center provides the STCL Houston community with an opportunity to engage in sustained dialogue and education to increase the depth of understanding about DEI in the legal profession.

“It’s an honor for me to be a part of this special event as the Agosto Diversity Center and  law school commemorate Celebrate Diversity Month,” said Senior Director for DEI Donna Davis. “The unique center gives us more to celebrate today and into the future.”

The Agosto Diversity Center encourages the STCL Houston community, law schools, and legal profession to embrace the mosaic of differences represented at the law school and in the profession while reflecting on the importance of engaging appropriately with attorneys, clients, judges, and colleagues.

South Texas College of Law Houston was founded in 1923 as an independent law school in Houston, Texas, and it serves a diverse student population from across the nation. South Texas Law has two specialty programs ranked in the Top 20 nationally — advocacy and dispute resolution — and it offers an ABA-accredited J.D. degree through both full-time and part-time programs. A popular part-time online J.D. launched in fall 2023. South Texas Law provides a diverse body of students with the opportunity to obtain an exceptional legal education, preparing graduates to serve their community and the profession with distinction.

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