Ruth Whitehead Whaley was among the four newest posthumous inductees into Fordham University’s Hall ofHonor. The Hall of Honor recognizes alumni who have embodied the ideals at the foundation of the University’s mission in their lives and careers.
Whitehead Whaley was the first black woman to enroll in Fordham Law and graduated top of her class in 1924. In 1925, she became the first black woman to practice law in New York. Well known for her expertise in civil service law, Whitehead Whaley regularly served as a representative of black local government employees and argued before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals multiple times throughout her career. She worked on the New York City Council during the 1940s and from 1951 to 1973 she worked as Secretary of the New York City Board of Estimate.
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University, referred to Whitehead Whaley and her fellow inductees as “men and women in the Fordham mode.”