Giving Through the Years

For many alumni, a tradition of lifelong giving is often tied to personal stories and fond memories of their alma mater.

Here, alums share their philanthropic journeys. Tell us yours.

Thomas Moynihan L’63

What inspired you to study law and why study at the College of Law?
When I was in my senior year at Holy Cross College, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do after graduation. Two of my friends, Bradley “Buddy” Carr L’63 and Jim Fitzpatrick L’63 were from Syracuse and were applying to the College of Law. I had several conversations with them and a family friend who was a graduate of the College of Law and decided to apply for admission. As the saying goes, “It was love at first sight.”

What law school memories stand out?
It was during the first year that I became interested in Student Government and I was elected President of my class; a very memorable experience which later led me to being selected as Magister of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. During my third year, I served as Editor-in-Chief of the Alumni publication The Syndicus.

Did a particular law professor have a lasting impact?
Professor Robert Miller who taught Criminal Law and Evidence had a lasting impact on me…he served as a prosecutor in the Japanese War Crimes trials after World War II…and made every class very interesting. I worked as an intern in the Onondaga District Attorney’s Office during that time. Following graduation, I became a defense attorney and later the County Judge of Warren County, NY. Were it not for Professor Miller, later Dean Miller, I might not have found the career path that I did.

Why is philanthropy, in particular supporting the College of Law, important to you?
Annual giving is my way of saying thank you to the College for the education that I received. I believe that recent graduates should consider giving back when they can afford to do so to also show gratitude for the tremendous educational opportunities provided by the College of Law.

Karen Linen L’83

What inspired you to study law?
I more or less knew going through high school that I was going to be either a music education major or a pre-law major, based upon my extensive choral involvement and piano studies, and in speech competitions. After spending my first two years of college as a Music Ed. major, I determined that teaching was not my profession of choice. I ultimately changed my major to
History on a pre-law track and graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with a B.A. I entered the College of Law the following fall.

What brought you to the College of law?
I participated in the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs’ high school scholarship program and was very impressed by the Syracuse University campus. I also had family in the area, having spent childhood summers with my aunt and uncle in Oswego (my uncle was a SUNY Oswego professor). We spent a lot of time enjoying outings to Syracuse and the environs, and I felt very much at home in Central New York.

What law school memories stand out?
needed to maintain employment during my law school years to cover my expenses. I had a great work-study experience at Student Legal Services and as a research assistant for one of the on-campus organizations and a university professor. And of course, there were fun social times with friends!

Did a particular law professor have a lasting impact?
Professor of Law Emeritus Richard A. Ellison, who taught Family Law. In addition to having great command of procedural and substantive law, he reminded us constantly that our clients in this area of practice were, by definition, vulnerable, and dependent upon attorneys who should have a high level of expertise. I have thought many times over the years of the ever-present compassion that infused Professor Ellison’s teaching, particularly in my work as
a law guardian, assistant county attorney, law clerk, and almost 30-year support magistrate in Family Court, Sullivan County, NY.

Why is philanthropy, in particular supporting the College of Law, important to you?
There is no equal in the life of a young adult like the college and graduate school experience. The College of Law provided me with the seminal tools to create a very satisfying career, and my contributions are just a way of giving back. I want every student at the College of Law to enjoy their tenure there and the wide variety of legal experiences it offers as much as I did.

In what ways have you given back to the College of Law?
Primarily via monetary donations, but a child support forms manual (and accompanying diskette) that I authored in 1997 (published by the New York State Office of Court Administration) is also part of the alumni collection in the law library. I pray that I will be blessed with many more years of giving back, particularly now that I am semi-retired and residing a short distance away in one of the Syracuse suburbs!

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back?
There is a Biblical verse in Ecclesiastes: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for it shall return to you after many days.” I believe in karma. Maybe some people who don’t think about giving are unusually lucky anyway, but I believe that the rest of us reap what we sow from our generosity. If one other struggling law student’s life is made easier or more enjoyable because of my commitment, my joy will be complete; and my message to newly minted alumni is another Biblical admonition: “Go thou and do likewise,” even if it’s just $10 or $15 or $25 per year. You won’t regret it!