Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Louise Ballerstedt Raggio 
Doctor of Laws  1996
Status: conferred

The only woman to graduate from SMU's Law School in 1952, Louise Ballerstedt Raggio then worked as Dallas's first female prosecutor. Throughout her distinguished legal career she has been a shrewd advocate for the rights and responsibilities of all people under the law. The first women elected to the Texas Bar Foundation's Board of Trustees in 1979, she received the Texas Bar Association's President's Award in 1987. It is not only because she is acknowledge as a "first," however, that we honor her: it is because of her notable accomplishments on behalf of women and families- and therefore on behalf of all. Louise Raggio was instrumental in the revision of restrictive laws affecting women and in the passage of the Marital Property Act of 1967, which for the first time allowed married women in Texas to buy or sell property or have credit in their own names. Working with SMU Professor Joseph McKnight, Louise Raggio created the first fully codified set of family laws in the world- the Texas Family Code. For her leadership in advancing women's rights and our nation's laws, SMU is proud to award Louise Ballerstedt Raggio the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.