May 1, 2004 — The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will be the featured speaker at the 26th commencement of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University at 3:00pm on Tuesday, June 1, 2004. At the ceremony, which will be held at Avery Fisher Hall of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 333 men and women will receive J.D. degrees and 45 will receive LL.M. degrees.
Justice O’Connor, the first women ever appointed to the US Supreme Court, has sat on the court since 1981 when President Ronald Reagan nominated her. Justice O’Connor has a longstanding relationship with Cardozo, having visited the school on several occasions to participate in conferences and panel discussions. Her most recent visit, in 2000, was to join two other Supreme Court justices and eight of their counterparts from the European Union to discuss the similarities and differences between their systems. During this year’s commencement, Justice O’Connor will receive an honorary degree from Yeshiva University.
Of her upcoming visit, Dean David Rudenstine said, “Justice O’Connor is one of the most prestigious jurists in the world today and we are honored to have her as our guest. We welcome her back to the Law School and thank her for her past support and friendship. Because Justice O’Connor’s legal career has moved frontiers, she is a perfect candidate both for an honorary degree and to address and inspire our graduates as they begin the next phases of their careers.”
Justice O’Connor graduated with great distinction from Stanford University in 1950 and received her LL.B. from there in 1952. Following her graduation from Stanford, she served as Deputy County Attorney in San Mateo County, California; Civilian Attorney for Quartermaster Market Center in Frankfurt, Germany; and had a private law practice in Maryvale, Arizona, among other professional accomplishments.
She served on the Arizona Court of Appeals from 1979 to 1981.
Also at this year’s commencement, Gary J. Galperin, a graduate of Cardozo’s class of 1980 and the deputy chief of the trial division of the New York County District Attorney’s office, will receive the second annual Distinguished Alumnus Award for Contribution to Public Service. One of the first Cardozo graduates to join the faculty of the Law School’s Intensive Trial Advocacy Program, in 1985, Mr. Galperin became an adjunct professor of law at Cardozo in 1993 and runs the Prosecutor Practicum clinic, in which students intern full-time at the District Attorney’s office.
Students from the class of 2001 named him Best Adjunct Professor that year. Dean Rudenstine notes, “Gary has been invaluable in helping Cardozo’s future lawyers gain practical skills. Additionally, he is a friendly and familiar face on campus, frequently attending or participating in many social and academic functions. He exemplifies the ideal alumnus, one who keeps his connection to the law school community active and meaningful.”
In his professional career, Mr. Galperin has been involved with the Narcotics Eviction Program, a crime-fighting unit that rids communities of drug dealers and others involved in illegal businesses that has inspired the development of similar programs around the country. He has also served as a consultant in forensic psychiatry and psychology to members of the bar, mental health professions, and the media and entertainment industry, and has lectured and published in the field.
Newly elected Board Chair Kathryn O. Greenberg, who graduated cum laude from the School in 1982, will preside over her first commencement. Ms. Greenberg is the founder of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), a full-service, not-for-profit law firm that offers free, comprehensive legal assistance to low-income New Yorkers. She is the first woman and the first alumna to be appointed to the position of Board chair.
This year’s commencement coincides with the 25th reunion of Cardozo’s first graduating class, the Class of ’79. Alumni from that year will don robes and march in the ceremony.
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law is well known for its prolific and high profile faculty as well as its top-ranked programs in intellectual property, corporate and criminal law, entertainment and communications laws, legal theory, alternative dispute resolution, and Jewish law. The Law School’s clinical program has been cited as one of the best in the county. Cardozo has graduated nearly 8,000 students since its founding in 1976.