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90th Anniversary Gala Raises Over $1 Million for Student Scholarships

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Photos from the event.

Video - Honorees Lisa Chun '00, Terence Winter '88, Elisa D. Garcia C. '85

Video - Lifetime Achievement Honoree Joseph M. Mattone, Sr., '53C, '55L, '94 HON and Keynote Speaker Hon. Janet DiFiore '81, Chief Judge of New York State


Ninety years ago, in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, St. John’s Law first opened its doors, welcoming a student body that one local newspaper described as the most democratic in the city.

Over the decades, the Law School has remained steadfast in its mission of making a legal education—and the legal profession—accessible to students of every race, ethnicity, background, and religion.

Partnering in this vital mission is a St. John’s Law alumni community that’s 15,000 strong. Its members have achieved success at every level of the profession and in every corner of the globe. And they’ve given back, generously, to ensure that the Law School continues its tradition of excellence while remaining a proving ground for smart, hardworking students seeking the American dream and looking to make a difference in the world.

On Thursday, June 16, 2016, St. John’s Law celebrated this generosity, the doors it’s opened, and the excellence it’s nurtured at a 90th Anniversary Gala at the Waldorf Astoria New York. With over 700 celebrants attending, the milestone event raised over $1 million for current use student scholarships.

As a highlight of the evening, the Law School honored four dedicated alumni with storied careers, who chose to establish endowed scholarships at the Law School so that students can reach their professional goals today and in years to come. The honorees were:

  • Lisa Chun '00, Senior Vice President, Paulson & Co. Inc.
  • Elisa D. Garcia C. '85, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Office Depot Inc.
  • Joseph M. Mattone, Sr., '53C, '55L, '94HON, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mattone Group, LLC
  • Terence Winter '88, Executive Producer and Writer Director, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Vinyl

Taking the stage to receive the first-ever St. John’s Law Lifetime Achievement Award, Mattone acknowledged his supportive family, friends, and colleagues and thanked St. John’s for making him the beneficiary of an education, “in both character development and the absorption of the law,” to which he attributes his success. Mattone and his family have been generous supporters of the Law School for years and, recently, gave an extraordinary $3.5 million gift to establish the Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law.

The gala’s keynoter was St. John’s Law alumna Hon. Janet DiFiore '81, Chief Judge of New York State, who has also endowed a scholarship at the Law School with her husband and fellow alumnus, Dennis Glazer ’79.

Addressing the attendees, Judge DiFiore said about alma mater: “My fellow alumni, we have every reason to cherish and take pride in our roots as a uniquely diverse and democratic institution of learning, a place that widened the circle of opportunity for those who were once excluded.” She then noted some of the many Law School graduates who “rose from anonymity and modest circumstances to achieve success, prominence, and great accomplishment.” St. John’s students are fortunate to attend a law school that “trains our hearts as well as our minds,” Judge DiFiore shared, and to learn that “there is a higher purpose to the practice of law [and] that lawyering is, indeed, a serving profession.” 

The gala event capped a milestone anniversary year marked by record giving to St. John's Law. “Ninety years after our founding, one thing that has truly changed is the way in which our alumni are investing in the Law School’s future,” says Dean Michael A. Simons. “In the past three years, with their support, we’ve created more endowed scholarships than in the previous 87 years combined. And each of the last three years has shattered previous fundraising totals. Three years ago, we raised $3.7 million (more than doubling what had been the average); two years ago, we raised $4.6 million; and in the year that just concluded, our alumni and friends gave $5.8 million to support alma mater and to sustain our proud tradition of opening doors to excellence.”
If you were unable to attend the gala, you can still join in the 90th anniversary celbration by making a gift online to support student scholarshups at St. John's Law.