I met Lina Rodriguez more than thirty years ago while we both were running early in the morning around what is now called Reid Park. Lina had just joined the law firm of Bilby, Shoenhair, Warnock and Dolph, one of the first of two women hired by that Tucson firm. Lina grew up in the small mining town of Oracle, Arizona and attended the University of Arizona graduating in 1972. Thereafter Lina taught language arts & creative writing at Apollo Jr. High School, here in Tucson for two years. She went on to the University of Arizona Law School and graduated in 1977.
Our relationship blossomed from running partners to very good friends. After being appointed to the bench of the Pima County Superior Court by Governor Bruce Babbitt in January 1984, she was sworn in by Judge Alice Truman during an event that I so proudly witnessed. Judge Lina Rodriguez went on to serve Pima County and its citizens for over twenty years until February 2004. During those years she married and gave birth to a son but neither event slowed her down for she continued her service and was the first to use her home computer, a first model fax machine, one of the earliest model large cell phones and a dedicated telephone, much to the delight of many attorneys and police officers seeking search warrants who could reach her at all hours. She often expresses her satisfaction at being a pioneer in this regard and she spent time with her young son in spite of being available for so much of the day and evening. During her service she was held in high regard as evidenced by her standing in the ongoing Judicial Performance Reviews.
Following her retirement, Lina Rodriguez has maintained an active mediation career, currently accepting requests from local, national, and periodically international law firms to serve in this capacity at least two or three times a week. She does not advertise; as can be expected, her abilities precede her and she is in high demand.
Shortly after her retirement, Lina was appointed to co-chair the Hispanic Advisory Council by then UA President Peter Likins. She and I often, while hiking, discussed and periodically continue to discuss diversity issues at the University as well as the University environment. A scholarship student both as an undergraduate and as a law student at the University of Arizona, Lina highly values education and its availability to others.
A long-time athlete, Lina continues to run, golf, work out, and with me hike once a week. At other times during the week she hikes and bicycles with her husband, and when he is available, with her son who now is a student at The University of Arizona. One can occasionally find her on the ski slopes, a location at which she met her husband many years ago.
In closing, I am delighted to honor such a wonderful friend, significant woman, and terrific role model here in the Women's Plaza of Honor.
Jennifer Hesketh Aviles