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Andrés Gallegos: 1960-2023


Andrés J. Gallegos, a 1993 Saint Louis School of Law Graduate and the 2022 spring commencement speaker, died Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. He was 62.

At the time of his death, Gallegos was the chairman of the National Council on Disability (NCD). The NCD is an agency that advises the president, Congress and the government on the variety of issues faced by people with disabilities.

Andrés Gallegos, J.D. (Law ’93) delivered the commencement address at Saturday's ceremony. Photo by Steve Dolan.

Andrés Gallegos, J.D. (Law ’93) delivered the commencement address at Saturday's ceremony. Photo by Steve Dolan.

He was appointed to the Council on Feb. 7, 2018, by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and took his oath of office on Feb. 22, 2018. 

Shortly after being sworn in as the 46th President, Joe Biden designated Gallegos as the chairman of the NCD. 

When not working with the NCD, Gallegos was a partner of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd (HSPRD). His focus there was on disability rights, business, and healthcare law. Before joining HSPRD, Andrés was a shareholder at Robbins DiMonte, Ltd., where he founded a practice there focusing on both disability rights and healthcare law.

Before his law career, Gallegos spent 14 years with the U.S. Air Force. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He then went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University School of Law.

He returned to his alma mater in 2022 to deliver the spring ceremony’s commencement address. At the ceremony, he shared how he became a disability advocate and shifted his focus to disability law after a life-changing car accident in November 1996. The accident damaged his spine and resulted in quadriplegia.

“It took a number of years for me to fully embrace my disability,” he said at the May 2022 Commencement Ceremony. “But once I did, I found meaning for my accident. The key, however, was fully embracing my disability. In other words, giving myself permission to love the new me. You know there’s truth to the saying, ‘You can’t love others if you first don’t love yourself.’ The disability corollary to that is, ‘You can’t expect others to be comfortable with your disability if you first are not.’ And now, I’m not shy in telling you — I love me some new me.”

At the ceremony, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Public Service honoris causa.

Gallegos was heavily involved in groups supporting people with disabilities. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association on Health & Disability, and was the past Chairman of the Board of Directors for Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago’s Center for Independent Living. He also served on the Board of Directors of Disability Lead.  

Additionally, he served two terms on the Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois and also worked on the Healthy Children and Families Transition Committee for Illinois. 

Services are pending.