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Scholars/Donors Luncheon

The annual Scholars/Donors Luncheon, held on October 18th, celebrated the donors of the 74 named scholarship funds at New York Law School that make it possible for students to attend the Law School each year and ensure that academic achievement, diversity, and learning continue to flourish.

“I didn’t have a scholarship but the tuition in those days was a little bit less,” Arthur N. Abbey ’59, Chair of the New York Law School Board of Trustees, said. “This Law School made me what I am, and I felt I should give back.” Creating a scholarship fund is “one of the best ways to give back”.

Mr. Abbey has established more scholarships at New York Law School than any other individual. The Arthur N. Abbey ’59 Scholarship Fund pays the summer tuition for one or more interns at the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern or Eastern Districts of New York. The Diane Abbey Public Service Fellowship, named in honor of Mr. Abbey’s wife, supports student employment and summer intern opportunities in poverty law offices. The Sidney and Mary Abbey Scholarship Fund, named in honor of Mr. Abbey’s parents, provides scholarships to deserving students.

Each year, the Scholars/Donors Luncheon brings together the people who provide the funds for the scholarships and the students who benefit from them. Two award recipients spoke at this year’s event.

Catherine Corwin 3L, the John J. and Marion R. Tormey Scholar, said that the assistance she has received during the past three years enabled her to focus not only on her academic responsibilities, but also on other obligations, such as her work on the Law Review and in important Clinic programs. In this way, scholarships help not only the students, but also all of the clients whom they serve through Law School programs.

Ms. Corwin told the donors present that “you are helping build lives and those lives will be spent primarily in the service of others.”

Stuart Leyton 3L, the Vincent A. Smyth ’74 Scholar, said his personal story provided an example of how a scholarship can really make a difference in the life of a student. Last year, Mr. Leyton had a serious health challenge that resulted in a gap in his income. His scholarship made up the difference and allowed him to continue his education and recover from his illness without additional stress.

Mr. Leyton added that donors play a special role in ensuring academic freedom because the prospect of debt often influences the choices students make in terms of their practice areas.

Providing scholarship funds “is indeed a very noble endeavor,” Mr. Leyton concluded.

Vincent A. Carbonell ’00, a Trustee of New York Law School, and the funder ofthe Carbonell Fellowship in the Law & Policy of the Workplace, also spoke at the luncheon. Quoting Harper Lee, who created one of the 20th century’s most notable fictional lawyers, Atticus Finch, in To Kill A Mockingbird, Mr. Carbonell said, “Our courts are the great equalizer.” Mr. Carbonell said he always had the passion to become an attorney, but noted that “besides passion, you need opportunity.”

After finishing college, Mr. Carbonell put aside the idea of law school for a number of years until he could earn sufficient resources to enroll in New York Law School in 1996.

“I had the opportunity,” he commented. “A lot of students don’t have that.”

Scholarships create chances for people to pursue their educational goals, Mr. Carbonell explained. He described New York Law School as one of the most diverse in the country and praised the faculty for its dedication to students and passion about the law. As a result, he said, the alumni of New York Law School not only possess the knowledge they need, but also their own passion for law and justice. Mr. Carbonell said that when people with strong beliefs and passions have the opportunity to get the great education that New York Law School offers, they really make a difference in the professional world.

Dean Richard A. Matasar told the assembled guests that the Scholars/Donors Luncheon represents “the past and the future coming together.” He said that the afternoon’s student speakers understood that relationship and added that the new building now under construction provided an example of “that same generational transfer.”

“This year, we kick off a new era for New York Law School,” Dean Matasar said. “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to achieve greatness.”

The Dean said that one of the goals of Breaking New Ground, the capital campaign initiated to support the building and reconstruction project, is to increase the number of students receiving scholarships by 25 percent. He urged the students at the luncheon to maintain a relationship with the Law School and return to the luncheon in the future as scholarship donors.