By Lona Panter/UGA Today
As the month celebrating Latinx heritage draws to a close, the University of Georgia School of Law recently held a virtual portrait unveiling for Luis Aguilar, a 1979 graduate of the law school whose service on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission helped lead the country out of the economic upheaval of the 2008 recession.
“It is fitting that as we celebrate Latinx Heritage Month, that we celebrate this distinguished Cuban-American who has contributed so much not only to the University of Georgia but to our country as well,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.
Aguilar – who immigrated to the United States as a child refugee from Cuba and who describes himself as “the product of the generosity of the American people and the opportunities offered by the United States” – was originally appointed as a commissioner with the Securities and Exchange Commission by President George W. Bush in 2008 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2011. He ultimately served from 2008 to 2015 – making Aguilar the eighth longest-serving commissioner in SEC history as well as only the third individual to have been nominated by two U.S. presidents from different political parties.
Shortly after his tenure with the SEC began in 2008, Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy and the stock market crashed. In the aftermath of the recession, the SEC entered one of its most active periods in history, helping to restore confidence and accountability in the agency and capital markets.
“Luis embodies our school’s ethic of service, and his instrumental role in salvaging the economy during the Great Recession will long be remembered as a great point of pride,” law school Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said.
Prior to his work at the SEC, Aguilar was active in both business and law. He has served as the general counsel, head of compliance, executive vice president and corporate secretary of Invesco. He also has been a partner at several prominent law firms, including McKenna Long & Aldridge, Alston & Bird, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, and Powell Goldstein Frazer & Murphy.
“It is a great honor to have my portrait displayed at the University of Georgia School of Law,” Aguilar said. “Much of what I have been able to achieve in my life resulted from the tremendous education, training and support I received at the School of Law. I will always remember this recognition with great pride and humility.”
In addition to Morehead and Rutledge, several friends and colleagues of Aguilar’s spoke about his life and career. They included J. Antonio “Tony” DelCampo of DelCampo & Grayson; Richard Best, the director of the New York Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and Walter Jospin, of counsel with Finch McCranie and the former director of the Atlanta Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission.