Jesus L. Lopez was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he has resided his entire life. He is a 1972 graduate of New Mexico Highlands University, majoring in Spanish and political science. He received his juris doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and has been a Las Vegas attorney for 30 years. Lopez has served as counsel to two presidents of Highlands University, and is a former district attorney. He also served 14 years as chairman of the West Las Vegas Board of Education. Always active in civic and political affairs, Lopez also served as chairman of the San Miguel County Democratic Party for more than a decade.
Regent Lopez has been married to Caroline (Garduno) for 37 years, and they are the parents of Jesus Lopez III, and grandparents of Jesus Lopez IV. Caroline is a 1971 graduate of Highlands and retired from the West Las Vegas School District after a teaching career of 34 years. Caroline serves as an elected member of the West Las Vegas Board of Education. Regent Lopez is the son of the late Lucy “Mama Lucy” Lopez, the renowned restauranteur who fed hundreds of Highlands students at her restaurant in the 1950s and 1960s. Lopez’ interest in Highlands began as a young boy when he interacted with these Highlands students while helping at his mother’s restaurant.
Through the years, Lopez’ law practice has been diverse, with a strong emphasis in land litigation. He is the San Miguel County attorney, a position he has held for the last 17 years. He has also served as attorney for Luna Community College and the West Las Vegas School District. He is proud to call himself nothing more than “a country lawyer.”
Lopez has a rich and keen knowledge of Highlands, its history and development. He hopes to utilize that insight while dutifully discharging his duties as a regent. He served as the community representative on the Presidential Search Committee, which recommended Dr. James Fries to be president of Highlands. Lopez was appointed to the Board of Regents in January 2008 by Gov. Bill Richardson. Lopez was reappointed to the Board of Regents in January 2009 for a six-year term, expiring Dec. 31, 2014.