May 11, 2015

Trasviña named to Paul Simon Institute board

John TransvinaCARBONDALE, Ill. -- John Trasviña, dean of the University of San Francisco School of Law and former general counsel for the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, has been appointed to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Board of Counselors at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

The principal responsibilities of the Board of Counselors include making recommendations to the president of the university regarding the hiring, and if necessary, the termination of the institute's director.  The board meets at least once per year to review the institute's programmatic and fiscal performance and its fidelity to its bipartisan mandate. 

“I am thrilled to have John join our team,” said Martin Simon, board chair, and son of the late senator. “Having worked closely with my father on a range of issues during his Senate years, John brings a unique perspective that will help the institute stay true to the causes that Dad held dear.”  

Trasviña has devoted his career to public service at both the national and local levels. Before his position as dean of the University of San Francisco School of Law, he was the assistant secretary of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, nominated by President Barack Obama. Trasviña led 43 offices enforcing fair housing laws. 

“I admired Sen. Simon in innumerable ways.” Trasviña said.  “It was a true honor to work for him and I look forward to carrying on his legacy as a member of the Board of Counselors.”  

A San Francisco native, he graduated from Harvard University and Stanford Law School. After law school, he was deputy city attorney in San Francisco, then legislative counsel to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Washington, D.C. He then worked for then-Sen. Simon as general counsel. 

He has been a member of the San Francisco Elections Commission, ABA Commission on Immigration, and president of the Harvard Club of San Francisco. John has served on numerous other boards including: La Raza Lawyers Association, Latino Issues Forum, Campaign for College Opportunity, Lowell High School Alumni Association, and the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. 

Trasviña has won numerous awards for his service including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia (2012), Person of the Year from the Asian Real Estate Association of America (2011), and Attorney of the Year from the Hispanic National Bar Association (2006). 

Trasviña is a member at large, appointed by the board for his public service and illustrious career. The board consists of 16 voting members who are unpaid volunteers: nine at-large members nominated by the board itself, two members of the Simon family chosen by the family, one member appointed by the chair of the Illinois state Republican Party, one member appointed by the Illinois state Democratic Party, and the previous past director.  The board also contains two voting ex-officio members: the chancellor of the university and the vice chancellor for development and alumni relations of the university.  More information about the board and a list of members can be found at