George Pataki to Speak at Graduation

May 09, 2011

Former New York Governor George Pataki will give the graduation address at Fordham Law School's 104th Diploma Ceremony and will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Dean Michael M. Martin and Fordham University President
 George Pataki
George Pataki
 Earle I. Mack
Earle I. Mack
Joseph McShane, S.J., will confer degrees on 650 graduates—433 to receive J.D. degrees and 217 to receive LL.M.s—at the ceremony on Sunday, May 22, at the Jacob Javits Center.
Earle I. Mack, a leader in New York’s philanthropic, arts, and business communities, will also receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Mack is a senior partner of The Mack Company, where he began his real estate career in 1963, and a former founding board member of the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation. He has produced notable films including an Academy Award–nominated documentary, The Children of Theatre Street, in 1977, and has contributed to many arts organizations. He is chairman emeritus of the New York State Council on the Arts and, in 2000, earned the New York State Governor's Arts Award for his leadership in this area. He is a graduate of Drexel University, where the law school bears his name to honor his giving, and is chairman emeritus of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School. He formerly served as U.S. ambassador to Finland. He attended Fordham Law School but left to join his family’s business before graduating.

Pataki began his career practicing law before moving into politics. After graduating from Yale University in 1967, he earned a J.D. at Columbia Law School in 1970, where he served as editor of the Columbia Law Review. Admitted to the New York bar in 1972 and the bar of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1973, he was a partner in the New York law firm of Plunkett & Jaffe until 1987. He was elected mayor of Peekskill, New York in 1981, and served in the New York State Legislature as an assemblyman and then a senator from 1985 to 1994, before becoming governor.

During his tenure as New York’s chief executive, Governor Pataki advanced award-winning policies in the renewable energy and environmental fields. His initiatives included the protection of over one million acres of open space, the adoption of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the implementation of the nation’s first green building tax credit, landmark brownfield legislation and programs to enhance the production and use of alternative energy like biodiesel, ethanol, fuel cells and clean coal.

In 2005, BusinessWeek named Governor Pataki one of the top 20 “Individuals who stand out for their efforts to cut gases that cause global warming” in the world. Also, in 2006, Vanity Fair called him a governor who “gets it” in its “Green Issue” for his efforts concerning the environment.

Following his service in Albany, Pataki was appointed a U.S. delegate to the United Nations General Assembly by President George W. Bush in 1987. He also resumed his legal career, joining Chadbourne and Parke, where his practice focuses on energy, environmental, and corporate matters.

At the diploma ceremony, the Law School will also give awards for service and achievement, including the Eugene J. Keefe Award, the Teacher of the Year Award, the Adjunct Teacher of the Year Award, and the Dean's Medal of Recognition.