The Reynaldo G. Garza Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Adelfa Callejo ’61 by the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas at its meeting in Dallas in June. The award is named for Judge Reynaldo G. Garza, who was appointed in 1961 to become the first Mexican-American federal district judge and who in 1979 became the first Mexican-American federal appellate court judge. Working full-time during the day, Callejo attended night school at SMU, studying simultaneously for her B.A. and J.D. degrees. She was the first Hispanic woman to graduate from the SMU School of Law, and the first to practice law in Dallas. Since then, Callejo has been in private practice in Dallas for 45 years with her husband Bill, who received his law degree from SMU in 1966.
Callejo has won numerous awards for her years of service in the community and the legal profession, including the Ohtli Reconocimiento recognition award from the Mexican government, the Texas Peace Officers Association’s Humanitarian Award, the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Lincoln-Juarez Award, the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award from the Dallas Bar Foundation. She has received the SMU Profile in Leadership Award, the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism Sandra Day O’Connor Award, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award, and in 2007 she received the Robert G. Storey Award for Distinguished Achievement from the SMU Dedman School of Law in 2007. Most recently, the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustees named a school “Adelfa Callejo Elementary School” in her honor.