Political Science ’90
Ambassador (ret.) Luis deBaca has made distinguished contributions to American law and liberty. deBaca, who was appointed by Pres. Barack Obama in 2009 as Ambassador at Large for the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, became the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Sex Offender, Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, and Tracking (SMART) Office in 2014. Today, he is a partner in the firm Chambers Lopez Strategies in Washington, D.C., where he continues his lifelong fight against some of the most atrocious violations of human dignity and decency. Prior to becoming ambassador, deBaca served as an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department for 13 years, prosecuting high-profile human trafficking, slavery, and hate crime cases. He served as Chief Counsel of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit under Pres. George W. Bush and was the lead trial counsel in the nation’s largest-ever slavery prosecution – U.S. vs. Kil Soo Lee, which involved the enslavement of more than 300 factory workers in American Samoa.
Among deBaca’s many awards and honors are the U.S. Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award (2013), Iowa Youth & Shelter Services’ Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Welfare of Children (2012), PODER/Hispanic Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics (2011), ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Alumni Achievement Award (2009), the Paul & Sheila Wellstone Memorial Award for Excellence in Anti-Trafficking Activities (2005), the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director’s Commendation (2004), the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award (2003), the Michigan Law School’s J.T. Canales Distinguished Latino Alumnus Award (2001), the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award for Litigation (1999), and the U.S. Attorneys’ Director’s Award (1998).
deBaca, who holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A Cyclone born and bred, he is the son of ISU faculty -- the late Robert C. deBaca and Mary M. deBaca (MS ’61 home mgmt), as well as brother of Monica ('84 nutr sci) and Suzanna ('86 art & design).
He is an ISU Alumni Association life member.
The Iowa State University Alumni Association is an independent 501(c)3, self-governing organization charged with the mission of engaging the talents and resources of alumni, students, and friends in the life, work, and aspiration of Iowa State University. Our vision is to become the lifetime partner in engaging all alumni, students, and friends with Iowa State University.