Xavier Rodriguez '83
Position: U.S. District Judge
During my undergraduate years I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to later attend law school – despite having no real understanding of what law school or the practice of law would be like. I did not realize at the time how valuable my history studies would become. As you are now aware, the study of history at Harvard is reading and writing intensive. The study of history requires the ability to think critically, absorb large and different kinds of information (economic data, cultural influences and external forces) and communicate this material in an organized and persuasive manner. These skill sets were all put to use in my legal career as a litigator and now as a judge.
I was drawn to studying medieval history at Harvard because of some great teachers and the literature. My interest in history continues. A few years ago I was interviewed for a possible seat on the Texas Supreme Court by the Governor of Texas. Upon entering his office I saw Stephen Ambrose’s book on D-Day on his desk and I remarked that I had just finished reading the book and learned more about D-Day from reading the book then I did from my father, who landed on D-Day as a medic. My father never talked about the war. That remark led to the Governor talking about his father’s service at Normandy. An hour later I was nominated to the state’s high civil court. Today, I am a U.S. District Judge. You never know where reading a history book will land you.