Raggio Lecture Series

Louise Ballerstedt Raggio ’52 Endowed Lecture Series 

Established: 2010


Louise B. Raggio, an inspiration for generations of women, is remembered for her unwavering support of women’s rights. Her outstanding legal career began in 1952 when she was the only woman in her SMU law school graduating class. She went on to become the first female assistant district attorney in Dallas County and the first woman to prosecute a criminal case in Dallas. She was a major influence in passing the Texas Marital Property Act of 1967, which gave married women the legal right to own property.
Raggio received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1971 and the SMU Dedman School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award in 1992. Four years later, SMU conferred upon her the honorary Doctor of Laws, the university’s highest honor.
The Raggio Lecture Series, established by Ms. Raggio’s friends and family, honors and celebrates her tremendous accomplishments in advancing the legal rights of women in Texas and across the country.


Raggio Lecture Series Past Speakers:


October 14, 2021

- Kelly Ayotte - U.S. Senator, New Hampshire and
     Claire McCaskill - U.S. Senator, Missouri
- Interviewed by Dean Jennifer M. Collins

April 18, 2017

- Barbara Bush - CEO and Co-Founder, Global Health Corps
- "A New Generation of Global Health Crusaders"
- Interviewed by Dean Jennifer M. Collins

March 31, 2015

- Susan Hawk - Dallas County's First Female District Attorney
- "A Conversation with Susan Hawk"
- Interviewed by Dean Jennifer M. Collins

May 2, 2013

- Jill Abramson – Executive Editor, The New York Times
- “Quality Journalism’s Role in the Hyper-Speed News Cycle”

August 29, 2011

- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – United States Supreme Court
- “A Conversation with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg”


SMU Louise B. Raggio Endowed Lecture in Women's Studies


- Joycelyn Elders - former U.S. Surgeon General

-  Valerie Plame Wilson - former U.S. CIA Operations Officer

- Wendy Kopp - founder, Teach for America

- Sue Shellenbarger - author, Wall Street Journal

-  Anna Quindlen - author and columnist, Newsweek

- Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett - senior executives, Southwest Airlines

- Ann Richards - former Texas Governor

- Geraldine Laybourne - founder, Oxygen Media

- Gwen Ifill - broadcaster, PBS

- Susan Faludi - feminist, author and journalist

- Patricia Schroeder - former U.S. Representative

- Gloria Steinem - founder, Ms. Magazine