Jurist and diplomat Carlos R. Moreno ’70 B.A. has been elected to serve as an alumni fellow of Yale’s Board of Trustees, known formally as the Yale Corporation, in a worldwide balloting of university graduates. He begins a six-year term on July 1.
Moreno served as the U.S. ambassador to Belize from 2014 to 2017, focusing his work on citizen security, economic development, and other foreign assistance projects. As an associate justice on the Supreme Court of California from 2001 to 2011, he authored more than 140 majority opinions. He has been widely recognized for his advocacy of gender equality, the rights of children and the disabled, and diversity in the legal profession.
“I am grateful to the Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee for selecting two outstanding candidates for this year’s ballot, and I thank the alumni who provided the committee with such a rich pool of nominations,” said President Peter Salovey.
“Justice Moreno has an extensive history of service to Yale and to communities across the nation and around the world. His distinguished career in pursuit of justice, his experience representing the United States abroad, and his lifelong dedication to inclusivity — in the legal profession and beyond — exemplify Yale’s aspirations for its students. I am very grateful for his willingness to continue his service to Yale in a new role.”
Each year, eligible Yale alumni vote to elect a new alumni fellow to the 19-member Yale Corporation, the university’s governing board and policymaking body.
The Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee, a group of alumni appointed by the Yale Alumni Association (YAA), selects the slate of alumni fellow candidates from nominations submitted by alumni.
“This year’s candidates were drawn from a group of highly qualified nominees,” said Jerry Henry ’80 M.Div., chair of the Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee. “Thank you to all alumni who submitted nominations and cast ballots in the election. In Justice Moreno, we have elected an exceptional leader who brings not only knowledge, wisdom, and compassion to the Yale Corporation’s deliberations but also a deep affection for Yale.”
A first-generation Mexican-American and fluent Spanish speaker, Moreno was the third Latino to serve on California’s highest court. The Hispanic National Bar Association and Mexican American Bar Association Foundation both have honored him with lifetime achievement awards. He currently works as an independent mediator with Judicial Arbitration & Mediation Services, serving clients in the state of California.
“I very much look forward to working with my fellow Yale board members and supportive Yale staff,” Moreno said. “We have much to contribute and many challenges ahead of us. It is great honor to serve Yale in this capacity, certainly something I never imagined as an undergraduate at Yale (Pierson College) many years ago. For many of us who spent our formative years at Yale, we realize now that a critical and indelible foundation was laid for us that would shape and enrich our lives for many years to come.”
A self-described “objectively reasonable optimist,” Moreno said he views the role of alumni fellow as an opportunity to support Yale’s academic and community priorities, and to reinforce the university’s commitment to being “emphatically student-centered.”
That emphasis, he says, was emblematic of his own undergraduate experience. He arrived at Yale in 1966, and his college years unfolded during a tumultuous and transformative period on campus that saw protests against the Vietnam War, the introduction of coeducation in Yale College, and the 1970 May Day rally.
“Yale was changing, not only in its student composition and background, but also in its acknowledgment of itself as an institution at the forefront of rapidly evolving national and international issues,” he said.
In his senior year, Moreno helped found MEChA de Yale, a student organization dedicated to social justice for those from underrepresented backgrounds. Although he initially planned to major in English, he quickly switched gears and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Moreno earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1975. He worked for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, as a litigator in private practice, and, for 15 years, as trial judge, including service as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California from 1998 to 2001.
Yale has remained a fixture in Moreno’s life during the 50 years since his graduation. In 2009, he was awarded the Yale Medal for service to the university in many volunteer roles, including as a longtime member of the Alumni Schools Committee, as part of the YAA Board of Governors, and as a co-founder of the Yale Latino Alumni Association. Last year, he gave the keynote address at MEChA’s 50th anniversary celebration.