Elizabeth Stewart at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Photo: Jack Carlson
Class of 1969 alumna Elizabeth Stewart looks forward to spending time with former classmates at Arizona Law's upcoming Homecoming and Reunion events. She recently took time to catch up with us, touching on her student experiences during a different era of the law school, her community engagement as an attorney, advocate for public lands, and author, and her enduring Arizona Law connections.
Elizabeth attended part of high school in Tucson, and was eager to return for law school at the University of Arizona. Her father was in the Air Force and the family moved frequently. She graduated high school in Sacramento and earned her Bachelor's degree at the University of California at Berkeley. Of her move back to Tucson, she says,
"I loved the desert, the sunshine, and the then fifty-mile visibility and enjoyed going to the Sunday Evening Forum at the University of Arizona. I took the train to Tucson and lived in the YWCA dormitory the first six weeks of classes until I found a room near the law school."
After reading about the incoming class in a recent edition of the Letter of the Law, one of Elizabeth's classmates told her, "I feel as though I went to law school in the horse and buggy era."
For Elizabeth, two differences really stand out. First:
"The students and faculty were predominately white men. There were only three women in our entering class of almost three hundred. Many students and faculty did not think women belonged in law school. Comments and questions such as, 'Why are you in law school?' and 'Are you looking for a husband?' were common."
"We were welcomed with the prediction, 'Look to the right, look to the left, only one of the three of you will graduate.' Unfortunately, that proved to be true and just under a hundred of our original classmates remained at graduation."
She recalls that during their first two years, law students then had classes six days a week with one to two hours between classes to encourage studying and discourage working.
Elizabeth says that her first job offer from the Arizona Legislative Council was withdrawn by certified mail after she asked to be paid the same as one of her male classmates.
Instead, she accepted a job with the Maricopa County Attorney and worked in the Juvenile and Civil Divisions for seven years until she was asked to take a position at the Attorney General's Office leading the child welfare unit.
"Bruce Babbitt was the Attorney General and it was an exciting time to work there. During the next 23 years there I had many interesting and challenging assignments and worked with many exceptional attorneys."
After retiring, Elizabeth served on several of the Governor's Growing Smarter committees and the Stewardship Trust Taskforce exploring ways to preserve state trust land. Later, she was appointed to the Arizona State Parks Board for a six-year term.
Currently, she serves on the Boards of Directors of the Arizona History Convention, the Anza Trail Foundation, and the Partnership for the National Trails System.
Elizabeth loves the outdoors and over the years she's enjoyed canoeing and catarafting (a type of river rafting), rock climbing, bicycle touring, hiking, and exploring state and national parks.
The last eight years she's travelled to Washington, DC, to advocate for the National Historic and Scenic Trails during the annual Hike the Hill. She's also the co-author, with long-time boyfriend Jack Carlson, of three hiking and history books on the Superstition Wilderness.
Even though they have held only two reunions as a class over the last 50 years, Elizabeth says that she still feels a strong bond with her classmates.
"I was fortunate to have been included in a group of students who went for coffee every day at the Park Center. There was a real team spirit of working together, helping each other with legal concepts and providing support and encouragement. As a result of that positive experience, I tried to treat opposing counsel and their clients with consideration -- even if I was seeking the maximum penalty, revoking a license, terminating parental rights, or arguing against liability."
She had a great time catching up with classmates at the recent State Bar of Arizona luncheon for those with 50 years of bar membership and has enjoyed reconnecting by email with several of them. She's looking forward to seeing more classmates at the reunion, some for the first time since graduation.
The 50-year reunion
will take place at noon on November 1 at the Arizona Inn. RSVP by contacting Corrina Eklund.
We can't wait to welcome you and your classmates back to campus, Elizabeth.
Arizona Law Reunions
We have several opportunities for you to catch up with your classmates and Arizona Law by attending one of our Homecoming and Reunion
events. We want to see you and hear about the amazing things our alums are doing all over the state, the country, and the world.
If your class year ends in a 4 or 9, Arizona Law is celebrating you during Homecoming!
In addition to the Class of 1969 gathering (details above), the following class years are planning reunion gatherings and will be sending out information soon: 1974, 1979, 1984, 1999, 2009, and 2014.
There is still time to get involved and volunteer to help shape your reunion. Contact:
Alumni and Events Coordinator