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Law School Celebrates 90th Anniversary

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Michael A. Simons, J.D.Michael A. Simons, J.D.

When St. John’s School of Law opened in downtown Brooklyn on September 28, 1925, it fulfilled a long-standing dream of Reverend John W. Moore, C.M. As the University’s seventh President, he believed the profession—and society itself—would benefit from an institution that combined a sound legal education with Catholic ethics and Christian ideals.

Fr. Moore did not live to see its opening. But his vision continues to shape St. John’s School of Law, which prepares ethical lawyers who excel in practice, government, scholarship, and the judiciary. Celebrating this legacy, more than 700 alumni, faculty, students, and friends attended the 90th Anniversary Gala of St. John’s School of Law on Thursday, June 16.

Held at the Waldorf Astoria New York, the milestone event supported the institution’s mission by raising more than $1 million in student scholarships. The gala capped a yearlong anniversary celebration with record giving to St. John’s Law. “Ninety years after our founding, one thing that has truly changed is the way our alumni are investing in the Law School’s future,” said Michael A. Simons, J.D., Dean and John V. Brennan Professor of Law and Ethics.

“In the past three years, with their support,” Dean Simons explained, “we’ve created more endowed scholarships than in the previous 87 years combined. 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 we just concluded, our alumni and friends gave $5.8 million to support alma mater and sustain our proud tradition of opening doors to excellence.”

St. John’s Law alumna Hon. Janet DiFiore ’81L, Chief Judge of New York State, was the keynote speaker. She also endowed a scholarship at her alma mater along with her husband, Dennis Glazer ’79L.

“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,” Judge DiFiore told the attendees. She noted that many of the Law School’s graduates “rose from anonymity and modest circumstances to achieve success, prominence, and great accomplishment,” thanks to a legal education that “trains our hearts as well as our minds.”

(l. to r.) Joseph M. Mattone Sr., Elisa D. Garcia C., Lisa Chun, Terence Winter, Hon. Janet DiFiore

As a highlight of the evening, the Law School honored four distinguished alumni who established endowed scholarships at their alma mater so students can achieve their professional goals today and in years to come:

  • Lisa Chun ‘00L, Senior Vice President, Paulson & Co. Inc.
  • Elisa D. Garcia C. ’85L, 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 ’88L, Executive Producer and Writer Director, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Vinyl

Mr. Mattone took the stage to receive the first-ever St. John’s Law Lifetime Achievement Award. Generous, longtime supporters of the Law School, Mr. Mattone and his family recently made a $3.5 million gift to establish the Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law. Addressing his fellow celebrants, he offered special thanks to St. John’s for preparing him for success by providing an education “in both character development and the absorption of the law.”