Nearly 100 Years After Graduation, Irving S. Devorsetz L’1924 is Still Making an Impact 

Irving S. Devorsetz L’1924
Irving S. Devorsetz L’1924

When Irving S. Devorsetz L’1924 graduated from the College of Law, little did he know how his career in law and service to the Syracuse community would resonate for generations.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1900, Devorsetz moved with his family to Syracuse as a teen. After serving in World War I, he attended Syracuse University for his undergraduate and law degrees. 

After graduation, he established his solo private practice in Syracuse and provided general legal services—from family law to criminal defense work—for clients from all walks of life.

In addition to his solo practice, Devorsetz was deeply committed to public service. He was an examiner for the Public Service Commission, a member of the Syracuse Housing Authority, Secretary of the Citizens Committee of the Board of Supervisors, which recommended state acquisition of the Onondaga Sanatorium, and on the board of the Onondaga Bar Association.

“It’s always heartening to hear from a student and

how the scholarship has helped in their studies.”

Sidney Devorsetz

“He became close friends with many of his clients, including African Americans. He took me with him on many occasions when he visited with them in their homes,” remembers his son, Sidney Devorsetz. “He was supportive and sympathetic with their fight against discrimination.”

Irving and Ruth Devorsetz with their children Sidney and Amy.
Irving and Ruth Devorsetz with 

Recognizing a need to diversify the legal profession to serve all constituents, Irving established the Irving S. Devorsetz Scholarship in 1960 to provide legal education funding to a student from an underserved population. The scholarship was fully endowed after his death in 1963. 

“My father foresaw that to pursue justice for all people, there needed to be more attorneys from underrepresented populations, and he knew that the cost of legal education would be a barrier. Therefore, he was determined to start a scholarship fund to help pay tuition for underrepresented law students,” says Amy Eliezer, Irving Devorsetz’ daughter.

Since that time, the Scholarship has met Devorsetz’s desire to diversify the legal profession with students receiving financial awards for nearly 50 years.

In a letter to the Devorsetz family, Kenneth Knight L’21, a recipient of the Scholarship, stated, “Thank you for your pledge to the College of Law and the leaders of the future. I hope this is only the introduction to a life-long bond that will continue well beyond my time at the College.” 

“He was always a champion of inclusivity and very assertive in that regard,” says Sidney. “It’s always heartening to hear from a student and how the Scholarship has helped in their studies. The family is happy that the Scholarship is doing good in our father’s memory.”