Dr. Richard Gambitta serves as Director of the Institute for Law and Public Affairs (ILPA) of the Honors College at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he has served as the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography, Interim Chair of the Department of Sociology, Coordinator of the Master of Public Administration Program, Graduate Advisor of Record for two programs, and as a tenured professor of political science for 25 years. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University, with specializations in public law and public administration. He co-founded and supervises the lauded UTSA Summer Law School Preparation Academy, which has contributed to increasing significantly the number of UTSA, minority, poor, and underrepresented students attending and excelling in quality law schools. He co-founded, with State representative Ruth Jones McClendon, the UTSA Legislative Scholars Program of ILPA that sends students to the Texas House of Representatives as funded legislative aides. In August, 2009, Dr. Gambitta will be one of the inaugural recipients of the UT Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.
Dr. Gambitta was the first Fulbright Scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He served as a National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellow conducting research as a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin and at the U.S. Supreme Court. He was named a Piper Professor by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation for distinguished teaching and “outstanding scholarly and academic achievement” selected from among all colleges and universities in Texas. He served as a New York University Summer Fellow at NYU Law School, studying with Professor Derrick Bell. In 2007, Dr. Gambitta won both the University of Texas System’s Chancellor’s Council Award for Outstanding Teaching and the UTSA President's Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching Excellence, each of these awards for the second time. He has won his College’s Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the Amber Award for mentoring, and the University Life Award twice as Outstanding Faculty Member. During the past two years, Dr. Gambitta has received numerous civic awards including the LULAC National Education Service Centers’ “Education Award for Outstanding Service,” the Liberty Bell Award from the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association, and many grants for his Institute students including those from the Texas Bar Foundation, the Law School Admissions Council, and the Bexar County Federal Bar Association. In 2007-8, Dr. Gambitta received an award as a CAPE Scholar to conduct research on “community action and public education.” His community awards include the Frederick Douglass Award for enhancing opportunities for African Americans; Bexar County Commissioners’ Court’s Hidalgo designation; the Distinguished Doctors Award by the Westside Chamber of Commerce; the “Spirit of Education Award” by the Texas Chicano Law Students Association; an ACLU’s Humanitarian Award; the Distinguished Service commendation from Goodwill Industries; the San Antonio Democratic League’s Male Democrat of the Year, and many others. He has appeared in many Who’s Who editions (Among Teachers, American Executives, Executives and Professionals, in America, and in the World) He has given several keynote addresses including in recent years a 2008 American Fulbright Scholars Banquet (>140 scholars from >60 countries) and the San Antonio Business Journal’s 100 Top Private Businesses Luncheon. He was selected twice by graduating students to deliver the Honors College Commencement address. He has been the faculty advisor to many student organizations including Phi Alpha Delta, Student Government, Golden Key National Honor Society, College Democrats, College Republicans, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, MECHA, Black Student Caucus, etc. He has served as an expert witness in state and federal court.
Dr. Gambitta serves as a Commissioner of the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA), chairing the Board’s Operations and Human Resources Committee, and providing policy-reform leadership in regional housing affairs. He has a long history of community commitment, including service as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries of San Antonio, two-term president of his neighborhood association, a director of the Education Investment Foundation, a director of the National Alliance of Craftsmen Associations, a member of the advisory council to the Chair of the Board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a member of the reform-oriented Mayor’s Commission on Integrity and Trust in Government, a member of the advisory committees of the S. A. Police Department’s Training Academy, DWI Commission, and Bexar County Elections Task Force Commission. He was a founding member of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and served on the bi-national (US-Mexico) consortium on public administration curriculum.
Dr. Gambitta has presented research across Europe, Asia, and North America and his writings appear in diverse scholarly collections including The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, Governing Through Courts (his co-edited book), The Law and Policy Quarterly, The American Journal of Criminal Law, The Oxford Guide to Supreme Court Decisions, The Politics of San Antonio, Archiv für Rechts und Sozialphilosophie, The Politics of Judicial Reform, Rechtstheorie, The Encyclopedia of the U.S. Supreme Court, The South Texas Studies Journal, et al. He has conducted numerous studies for government, aimed at reform, including a three-volume DWI Comprehensive Enforcement study (Bexar Co. DA’s Office and TxDOT), a bail bond reform study (BX Co. District Clerk’s Office), a task force report on campaign finance reform for the City Council of SA, and significant studies for a host of entities including the Archdiocese of San Antonio (on education and schools), television stations, newspapers, media businesses, law firms, etc. He has conducted over twenty-five major survey research projects (including for Clinton/Gore ’92, KENS-TV, COPS [Communities Organized for Public Service], TxDOT, San Antonio Light, the Archdiocese of San Antonio, etc.), and has been a consultant to KPMG for TexasOnline and to elected officials at the local, state, and national levels and in all three branches of government. He was a consultant to candidates in both major parties. He has moderated debates between electoral candidates at the federal, state, and local levels; moderated a San Antonio Housing Authority program on public housing issues and initiatives; moderated discussions for the Hispanic Chamber, Greater Chamber, etc.; been a frequent contributor to Leadership San Antonio education panels; taught for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; hosted for years the First Friday Forums that discussed major issues confronting San Antonio; etc. For decades, he has spoken regularly to civic, educational, church, and philanthropic groups. He has written for the PBS Online Newshour with Jim Leher, served as an advisor to CNN/TBS, and been a very frequent commentator in the news, locally, nationally, and internationally. He is married to Sherry Gambitta, a realtor with REMAX, and they are raising two sons (10 and 21). Contact him at: email@example.com, (210) 458-2990, or at ILPA, UTSA, 501 West Durango Blvd. Suite 4.356, San Antonio, TX 78207-4415.