As an undergraduate and then a law student at Indiana University, Arthur Lopez navigated unchartered waters as a first-generation Mexican-American student on campus. No one in his family had attended college before—let alone law school—and Lopez will never forget how welcome he felt at IU. “I’ll always be grateful for what IU has done for me. They gave me a chance when nobody else would,” he says.
His law career has been stellar. Lopez was hired as the first Hispanic lawyer ever in the 150-year history of International Harvester (now called Navistar International Corporation); he served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton; and he is now special assistant to the deputy director for the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. He is also the founding director of Nadar por vida (which in Spanish means “swimming for life”), a nonprofit organization committed to giving minority and low-income kids an introduction to the world of competitive swimming. “When the kids first come into the program, they don’t have a lot of confidence. As we work with them, their happiness and confidence grows. We also have great swimmers who come out of the program,” he says. “The incidence of drowning is catastrophically higher in ethnically diverse communities. We meet at night when the kids are most vulnerable to gang recruitment. We save lives in the water and on the street.”
This degree gets noticed: “When people see that I have my law degree from IU, it’s instant recognition that I achieved something great. People notice an IU law degree because the school has a very good reputation.”
What I miss most about IU: “I love the vibrance of the town and the solace of the libraries. There’s just an excitement in the air! I love the Indiana Memorial Union too. I met my wife at IU and we’ve been together for 30 years.”
Giving back to Indiana Law: “I’m in the process of creating the Latino Alumni Advisory Board. I’m proud that Dean Robel, a Law School classmate of mine, asked me to do that. I really believe that the only way I can help IU is to be there for the rest of the IU family. I will always welcome anyone from IU to contact me—my phone is always open to IU students!”