Fordham Law Remembers Mary Daly

November 24, 2008

The Fordham Law community is deeply saddened by the passing of Mary C. Daly, Fordham Law alumna, former Fordham Law professor, and dean of St. John's Law School.

Mary had a brilliant career at Fordham Law, serving as book review editor of the Fordham Law Review and graduating in 1972, and she taught on our faculty with the greatest distinction for over 20 years. In 2004, she received the Fordham Law School Teacher of the Year Award in recognition of her superb teaching.  She contributed to the community in countless ways, and, during her tenure, she served as James H. Quinn Professor of Law and director of the Graduate Program. She also was co-director of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics, which she helped turn into a model for other law schools by, among other initiatives, pioneering the contextual teaching of ethics and working to expand dramatically the law school’s legal ethics faculty. In accomplishing this, she strengthened Fordham’s legal ethics program, and she was a pathbreaking leader in the fields of international ethics and the transnational practice of law.

As dean of St. John's, she established a global focus within the school through the creation of new academic programs and initiatives. Among these was the LL.M. program in U.S. Legal Studies for Foreign Law School Graduates that provides opportunities for foreign-trained lawyers to achieve a strong grounding in the U.S. legal system. She also established a summer study program in Rome and increased the number of law clinics at St. John's.

Mary will be remembered, however, not just for her countless achievements, but for her remarkably warm and caring personality. She was deeply dedicated to the well-being of others and served as a mentor to many Fordham Law faculty and administrators and was a wonderful colleague and friend for all. 

"Mary's death is a tragic loss for all of us," said Dean William Treanor. "She and I were colleagues at Fordham Law from the time I arrived in 1991 until she became dean at St. John's in 2004, and to be her colleague was a great privilege. She was brilliant, she was inspirational, and she had a great heart. She left us much too young."

Mary is survived by her husband, Tony Distinti '72, her sons, Stephen and Anthony '07, and her daughter, Meg.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Thomas More Church on St John's campus on Thursday, December 4 at 10:30 a.m. A prayer service will be held on Tuesday, November 25 at 10 a.m. in the St. John's University Law School Atrium.  A memorial service will also be held at Fordham Law School.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, P.O. Box 27106, New York, NY 10087-7106.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family c/o Vice Dean Andrew Simons, St. John's University School of Law, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens, NY 11439.

Dean John Feerick's eulogy to Mary Daly