Susan Ponce Memorial Endowed Scholarship in International Law

Jul 3, 2014 | Scholarships

The Susan Ponce Memorial Endowed Scholarship in International Law was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on July 3, 2014, to benefit The University of Texas School of Law. The endowment honors Ms. Susan Margaret Ponce. Gift funds have been provided in Susan’s honor by her husband David King, several of her fellow University of Texas Law School classmates, and the estate of Ms. Ponce.

Susan Margaret Ponce was born on March 22, 1963, in El Paso, Texas, to Abraham and Jovita Ponce. In 1971, Susan moved with her family to Arlington, where she attended Wimbish Elementary and Shackelford Junior High before she graduated from Lamar High in 1981. She earned a BA in political science from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1985, a JD from The University of Texas at Austin Law School in 1988 (where she was part of the first group from the Law School to be able to study abroad as part of the curriculum), and an LLM with Merit in 1990 from the University of London, Queen Mary and Westfield College.

Susan’s early international exposure while at the Law School impacted her career direction, incorporating her acquired understanding of international law and cultural differences, her love of travel, and adventurous spirit. Meticulous, dedicated, and intent on putting her best effort into whatever she did, Susan ascended the ranks as a lawyer for Halliburton, becoming a senior vice president and one of the company’s highest-ranking women. During 22 years with Halliburton, Susan developed the Environmental Law Practice Group, overseeing 15 offices across the globe as chief commercial counsel. In 2009, she became the company’s first chief ethics and compliance officer. She was a member of the Pennsylvania bar, admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court bar, and active in numerous professional organizations.

Susan Margaret Ponce
Susan always expressed a real connection between her international studies and her success in managing a career with global responsibilities and often encouraged those she mentored to take the opportunity to broaden their worldview through studies abroad.

Susan was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008. Through her treatment, she continued to work, play, and enrich the lives of others. Susan expressed her thoughts about living with cancer in her website journal when she wrote:

One of the things circumstances like mine remind you of, early and often, is that life is full of uncertainties, some of which make it scary but most of which are what make it surprising and exciting and spontaneous. So, rather than worry about what limbo I might be in from a cancer standpoint, I choose to focus on the possibilities that still lay ahead. The trouble here really (and it is a good problem to have) is that there are so many possibilities, how do you prioritize them so as to get the most out of them that you can? I think that’s the challenge that we all have, and one that in normal life is all too easy to lose sight of in the day-to-day business of life.

Susan Margaret Ponce died Wednesday, May 16, 2012. She lived her life with purpose, always trying to make a difference in the lives of others. Her spirit lives on through this scholarship and the UT students touched by her generosity.

The scholarship will be awarded to students who are entering their third year and who have indicated they wish to pursue the UT Austin JD in conjunction with a foreign law degree, or, will study in a semester abroad program that will allow credits to be applied to their UT Austin JD, or, have organized their own international law school study outside of a traditional study-abroad program.

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