Emeritus Professor of Law
B.S. 1963, St. Joseph's University (Pennsylvania)
J.D. 1966, Boston College
Member of the District of Columbia and New Mexico Bars
Robert Desiderio joined the UNM law faculty in 1967. In addition to contributing an expertise in tax law to the school, he has served two terms as dean, from 1979-1985 and from 1997-2002. He now teaches one class a semester.
He co-chairs the New Mexico Public School Capital Outlay Task Force and has chaired the New Mexico Tax Study Committee. He is the only academic member of the Exempt Organization Advisory Council of the Internal Revenue Service in Dallas. Also, while on leave from the law school in the late 1980s, he was director and chair of the tax section at Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, one of New Mexico's largest law firms.
Desiderio has served as UNM's faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletics Association and the former Western Athletic Conference. He also was the university's acting vice president for academic affairs.
As dean, he has worked tirelessly to improve the school. He led a massive fund-raising effort to build the $10 million Frederick M. Hart Addition, which opened in the fall 2002, nearly doubling the size of the law school. A renovation of the older building followed. During his first term as dean, Desiderio increased the number of faculty, improving the student-faculty ratio. He worked to increase faculty salaries and established a successful annual fund-raising program.
His scholarship focuses on tax-exempt organizations, state and local taxation, personal property leasing, remedies, taxation of insular areas, and sports law. Courses he teaches are Contracts, Tax, Remedies, Commercial and Corporate Law.
Desiderio was a consultant to Southern New England School of Law. In 1978, he was a special legal consultant to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Legislature. In the 1990s, he returned to the South Pacific nation as director of a pre-law program and as a consultant to the Director of Finance.
Before joining the UNM law faculty, he worked for the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C.
Desiderio and his wife, Anne, have raised eight children and have cared for 110 foster children during the past 20 years.