Giving Through the Years: The Hon. Carl J. Mugglin L’61 


Our alumni’s generosity underwrites the College of Law’s success. For many alumni, a tradition of lifelong giving is often tied to personal stories and fond memories of their alma mater. And what better time to reflect on their College of Law days than on the occasion of a class anniversary! 
Here, alums celebrating years ending in one share their philanthropic journeys. Tell us yours by emailing us at
Hon. Carl Mugglin L’61

The Hon. Carl J. Mugglin practiced general law and served as a confidential law secretary to a judge and one term as Delaware County District Attorney. In 1985, he was elected a Supreme Court Justice for the Sixth Judicial District and was re-elected in 1999. He retired from the bench in 2007.

What inspired you to study law?

From 1954 to 1958 I was enrolled in the Syracuse University School of Business Administration. During this time, I took several courses in political science at the Maxwell School, and as a result of these studies, I was inspired to apply to law school. I scored well on the law aptitude exam and was accepted at the University of Chicago Law School.

Then why study at the College of Law?

When I found out that my wife, who was entering her senior year at SU, could only transfer enough credits to be a second-semester freshman at Chicago, I went to visit Syracuse’s law school dean. This was about two weeks prior to the fall semester. He accepted my verbal application, and he enrolled me that day.

What part of law school made a lasting impact?

My memories of law school revolve around long hours of studying, which I came to see as good preparation for private practice, and the different methods of instruction used by the professors. This ranges from the instillation of fear of failure to friendly helpfulness, which was good preparation for trial practice. 

Looking back, what are some career highlights?

After graduation, I worked for a firm in Endicott, NY, for about one year. I then returned to my hometown of Walton, NY, where I engaged in general practice until January 1986. During this time, I held two part-time positions. I was the District Attorney of Delaware County from 1965 to 1967, and I was a law clerk for a Supreme Court Justice from 1973 to 1979. In November 1985, I was elected as a Justice of the Supreme Court for the State of New York. I served on the trial bench for 13 and a half years and on the Appellate Division, Third Department, for eight and a half years, retiring at the end of 2007 at the age of 70. 

Why is giving back important to you?

Philanthropy has always been an important part of my life, particularly when it comes to supporting those institutions or organizations that are not supported by tax dollars and that have been helpful or meaningful to me. Thus, I have been generous in my support of my church, the Boy Scouts, the local hospital, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the College of Law. 

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back?

Obviously, I could not have had the very enjoyable career that I did have without the education provided by Syracuse. I encourage all Syracuse Law graduates to remember their own careers and to give as generously as possible on an annual basis.