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General News

Kathryn Venturatos Lorio, Former Dean of Loyola Law

September 4, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The National Herald published Kathryn Venturatos Lorio’s obituary on July 22. On September 1, our editorial board received a letter from Craig S. Clawson, the Past Supreme President of the Sons of Pericles and a dear friend of Ms. Lorio’s, informing us we inadvertently omitted an important piece of her biography: Ms. Lorio served as the Grand President of the Maids of Athena, the Junior Auxiliary of the Daughters of Penelope, from 1969 to 1970.

We republish the full obituary below:

Kathryn Venturatos Lorio, a beloved 40-year faculty member – and, briefly, dean – of Loyola University College of Law, passed away from pancreatic cancer on July 19 at Passages Hospice, Nola.com reported. She was 71.

“She is one of the giants in the history of Loyola law school,” Marcel Garsaud, a professor emeritus and former Loyola law dean, told Nola.com, adding praise for her “all-around competence, commitment and unselfishness.”

Lorio worked at Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles for three years after graduating in 1973 from Loyola’s law school, but “teaching was always something she wanted to do,” she said in an oral-history interview for the Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF), Nola.com reported.

Lorio said, “I always had this thing to be a teacher. I like trying to instruct people and show them what I know. Even in the law firm, when there were new lawyers, I liked doing that. I also like dealing with young people,” Nola.com reported.

When she started out in the legal profession, “women were still a distinct minority, and she said her law-firm colleagues weren’t sure how to regard her,” Nola.com reported.

Lorio said, “I wasn’t one of the guys, and when people went to lunch, I wasn’t necessarily included. It wasn’t like that at the law school. I was included from the beginning,” Nola.com reported.

Lorio was a faculty member at Loyola from 1976 through 2016. In recognition of her work, the Louisiana Bar Foundation named her Professor of the Year in 2003. Loyola gave her two of its highest honors: the 2005 Dux Academicus [Chief Academic in Latin] Award, and the 2019 St. Ives [patron saint of lawyers] Award.

She was associate dean for academic affairs in 1996 and 1997. When Dean Brian Bromberger died of a heart attack in May 2010, Lorio was named interim dean, a position she held until Maria Pabón López became dean in June 2011.

Lorio was named the Leon Sarpy professor of law in 1992 and directed the school’s summer program in Greece from 2013-2016.

Born on February 15, 1949, in Pittsburgh, Kathryn Venturatos moved in 1962 with her family to New Orleans, where her grandparents lived, Nola.com reported, adding that “she grew up steeped in Greek culture,” and at home, she said in the LBF interview, “her mother not only insisted that her children learn Greek but also refused to speak with them from 3-6 PM unless they addressed her in Greek.”

“It’s very difficult to get kids to do that,” Lorio said, but she added that “her fluency in Greek helped when she was directing the summer program in Greece,” Nola.com reported. Lorio was also involved in the Greek community – serving as the Grand President of the Maids of Athena, the Junior Auxiliary of the Daughters of Penelope, from 1969 to 1970.

At Benjamin Franklin High School, she was homecoming queen and valedictorian of the Class of 1966. She earned a degree in political science at Newcomb College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In law school, where she graduated sixth in a class of 138, she was case-note editor of The Loyola Law Review.

In her second year of law school, “she met Philip Donatien Lorio III, a first-year student whom she married,” Nola.com reported, adding that “they had two children, both of whom became lawyers.”

After graduation, though Lorio was offered a position as clerk in the State Supreme Court, she opted to work for Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles. When she began teaching, Lorio focused on civil law subjects and also “developed an expertise early on in the developing field of in vitro fertilization,” Nola.com reported, adding that as “a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Lorio worked on subjects such as surrogacy and the rights of children who were conceived artificially after their parents had died.”

In discussing the issue, Lorio said in the LBF interview, “we got some legislation on that. We were one of the first states to … protect those children,” Nola.com reported.

Lorio is survived by her husband, Philip Donatien Lorio III; a son, Philip Donatien Lorio IV of New Orleans; a daughter, Elisabeth Bon Lorio Baer of Metairie; a brother, Dr. Steve Venturatos of New Orleans; a sister, Billie Andersson of Metairie; and four grandchildren.

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