St. Thomas University (STU) has announced the appointment of the Honorable Tarlika Nunez-Navarro as the Dean of The Benjamin L. Crump College of Law. She will begin her new role on August 7, 2023. Judge Nunez-Navarro currently serves as a Circuit Court Judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit and presides in the Felony Criminal Division in Orange County, Florida. Judge Navarro is the first Colombian American to hold a Circuit Court seat on Florida’s Ninth and Seventeenth Judicial Circuits. In 2022, the Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida awarded Judge Navarro the Jurist of the Year award.
Judge Tarlika Nunez-Navarro is a highly respected legal professional known for her unwavering dedication to justice and her exceptional contributions to the legal community. Judge Navarro brings a wealth of experience, leadership, and a commitment to excellence that will shape the future of legal education at St. Thomas University College of Law, where she earned her Juris Doctor degree. As an alumna of the STU College of Law, Judge Navarro possesses a unique perspective about the student experience therein, and she shares a common bond with the law school’s over 5,500 alumni. Furthermore, she is part of an elite group of the College of Law’s graduates who comprise the nation’s largest cadre of female Hispanic judges.
The outgoing Interim Dean and Professor Emeritus, John Makdisi, is “thrilled that the College of Law will be in the good hands of Judge Tarlika Nunez-Navarro as it continues to provide a superior legal education to its students and to build a sterling reputation in the legal community through its alumni.” STU College of Law trains lawyers capable of applying legal principles to address and solve problems of an increasingly complex and changing society. The rigorous academic program of the law school emphasizes lifelong learning and scholarship in a personalized, caring environment. St. Thomas Law offers extensive clinical, externship, and internship opportunities to further enhance students’ legal training.
“Judge Nunez-Navarro is an exceptional legal professional, and an extraordinary human being,” commented St. Thomas University President David A. Armstrong, J.D. “Her leadership skills, commitment to transformative legal education, and dedication to our student population will surely be the hallmarks of her deanship. We are proud that one of our own will now be leading the College of Law to new heights of excellence.”
Judge Navarro is delighted to get underway, and had this to say about her appointment, “I look forward to this next chapter with STU as we embark upon our mission to serve, uplift and empower our next generation of lawyers to strive for excellence and accountability to our legal community and beyond.”
Prior to serving on the bench, Judge Navarro worked in private practice, specializing in criminal defense, and was also an Assistant State Attorney in Broward County, prosecuting crimes from first-degree misdemeanours to life felonies. She clerked for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County’s Family and Domestic Violence Division. Judge Navarro received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami.
About St. Thomas University Benjamin L. Crump College of Law:
St. Thomas University Benjamin L. Crump College of Law is committed to excellence in teaching, scholarship, and community service. STU Law offers extensive clinical, externship, and internship opportunities to further enhance students’ legal training. Along with the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, the College of Law features a Doctor of the Science of Law in Intercultural Human Rights (J.S.D.), and Master’s Programs in Intercultural Human Rights (LL.M.) and Cybersecurity Law and Policy (M.L.S.).
In 2023, STU College of Law was selected as one of preLaw magazine’s Top Schools for Trial Advocacy, and the school’s acclaimed trial team won first place at the Chester Bedell Mock Trial Competition. In 2022, STU Law was ranked #6 in preLaw magazine’s Best Schools for Racial Justice as well as a Top Tax Law School. In addition, Princeton Review Best Law Schools selected STU Law as #1 Greatest Resources for Minority Students, and #7 Greatest Resources for Women.