2021 Distinguished Alumna of the Year
First presented in 1978, the Scripps College Distinguished Alumna Award was established to celebrate the notable achievements of Scripps alumnae and to focus attention on Scripps’ role in the education of women. The award each year is presented during Reunion Weekend. Read about past recipients here.
Constance, “Connie” de la Vega was born and raised in Mexico. Because her mother was American, she grew up speaking and writing both Spanish and English and with dual nationality in the US and Mexico. This led to her interest in international issues, guiding her to major in international relations while at Scripps. After graduation, Connie went to the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she focused her studies on international human rights under the guidance of Frank C. Newman (who later became a justice on the California Supreme Court). Professor Newman introduced her to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, during the summer after her first year of law school. She later spent a semester at the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, where she worked on international human rights issues. After law school, she worked for 10 years at the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County, where she focused on housing issues. Connie then went to teach at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she first directed the Civil Litigation Clinic, handling housing and civil rights cases. One of the latter resulted in a published decision, Orozco v. County of Yolo. Another case resulted in a published decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of an inmate on death row, N.I. Sequoyah v. United States. She eventually started teaching international human rights and teaching and directing the program for the master’s in law program. Connie is an avid sports lover: While at Scripps, she played volleyball and basketball for Pomona College. During law school, she played intramural sports and continued with organized sports after graduation.