Miami Law's Lauren Pettiette Elected Chief of Iron Arrow Honor Society, University of Miami's Oldest Tradition


Lauren Pettiette, 2L, addressing an orientation session for new law students in August 2012. (Photo: Nick Madigan/Miami Law)

Second-year Miami Law student and Miami Scholar Lauren Lee Pettiette has been named chief of the Iron Arrow Honor Society, an organization founded at the University of Miami in 1926 whose members are easily identified by the brightly colored Seminole jackets they don at official functions.

She will lead the society for the traditional one-year term. As president of the organization, Pettiette, who hails from Shreveport, La., will coordinate events and activities with its officers, and represent the tribe to the UM community.

"It was an honor to be tapped and initiated into Iron Arrow last fall, and I am humbled to be elected by my fellow Iron Arrows to lead the society," Pettiette said. "I am excited about working with the officers and the rest of the tribe to bring the traditions and the spirit of the U to all of the schools and campuses."

Iron Arrow was founded by UM's first president, Bowman Foster Ashe, only a month after the university opened. It is steeped in the rituals of the Seminole Indian tribe and honors individuals who best exemplify the five qualities of Iron Arrow – love of alma mater, character, leadership, scholarship, and humility. In 1976, Iron Arrow was removed as a student organization at the University of Miami for its unwillingness to admit women to its ranks, a refusal that led to contentious litigation in the federal courts. The case of Iron Arrow Honor Soc. v. Heckler ultimately made it to the United States Supreme Court, where the plaintiffs argued that Iron Arrow could not exclude women because the University of Miami was a recipient of federal assistance. Meanwhile, UM President Edward T. Foote II informed the tribe that it would not be allowed back on campus unless it decided to admit women, regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit.

Finally, in 1985, a motion to allow women into Iron Arrow was passed at a special meeting – after six previous attempts – and the tribe returned to the UM campus. On February 28, 1985, Iron Arrow tapped Dorothy Ashe-Dunn, daughter of Iron Arrow Founder Dr. Bowman Foster Ashe, as the first woman to be admitted to the society.

Leadership seems to come naturally to Pettiette. She graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, and then, through Teach for America, taught third-grade students. Pettiette says she came to law school committed to empowering parents and students as an advocate of education. Pettiette, a Miami Scholar, worked last summer as a law clerk in the Public Defender Service in Washington. This summer, she will return to D.C. as a legal intern for the Advancement Project.

At Miami Law, Pettiette is treasurer of the Society of Bar and Gavel and will serve as its vice president next year. She serves as president of the Children and Family Law Society, and as a Committee Chair for the Public Interest Leadership Board. She has also been involved with Student Ambassadors and Books and Buddies since her first year. Pettiette is a member of the Charles C. Papy Moot Court Board, as well as a member of the Business Law Review. This year she served as a legal intern in the Children and Youth Law Clinic, and she will return as a fellow next year.