Marilyn J. Morheuser entered the fi eld of law later in life, but she used the court system brilliantly to help give students in poor, urban districts an opportunity for a quality education. A Catholic nun for 16 years, she taught high school and college in her native Milwaukee before leaving the Loretto order to edit a black newspaper, coordinate a Head Start program, and direct a settlement house. She was arrested three times during Milwaukee civil rights demonstrations. Her commitment to the struggle led her to the NAACP in New York, where she worked until going to law school at age 46. She was a lawyer for the New Jersey Division of Mental Health Advocacy and staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. She became executive director of the Education Law Center in Newark, where she began the Abbott v. Burke case over disparities in educational funding, which resulted in the landmark New Jersey Supreme Court decision that eventually changed the state’s funding policies through the Quality Education Act. The National Education Association gave her the Martin Luther King Jr. Award in 1994. She died from cancer in 1995.
Marilyn J. Morheuser
Attorney, Education Activist
School of Law–Newark 1973
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of