Loretta A. Preska, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, served as the graduation speaker at Fordham Law School’s 109th Law School Diploma Ceremony on Monday, May 23. The ceremony was held at the Beacon Theatre.
Joseph M. McShane, SJ., president of Fordham University, and Matthew Diller, dean of Fordham Law, conferred degrees on more than 500 individuals: JD, LLM, and SJD graduates.
Judge Preska received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. In addition, the University bestowed an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree on Henry N. Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, who designed the new law school building that was dedicated in September 2014.
The Law School also honored Professor Deborah Denno as Teacher of the Year and Hon. Gerald Lebovits as Adjunct Teacher of the Year. The Dean’s Medal of Recognition was presented to both Professor Ian Weinstein, for his past service as associate dean for clinical and experiential education, and Professor Robert Nissenbaum, the retiring director of the School’s Maloney Library. In addition, the Eugene J. Keefe Award was presented to Kimberly Greer, president of the Student Bar Association.
Judge Preska, in her final year of her term as chief judge, was appointed a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York in 1992. She has served as chief judge since 2009. She received a BA from the College of St. Rose in Albany, in 1970, a JD from Fordham Law in 1973, and an LLM in trade regulation from New York University School of Law in 1978. Following graduation from Fordham, Judge Preska was an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and an associate and, beginning in 1983, a partner at Hertzog, Calamari & Gleason until her induction as a United States district judge in 1992.
Among her many accolades, Judge Preska received the Louis J. Lefkowitz Public Service Alumni Award from Fordham Law in 1992 and served several terms as a vice president on the board of directors of the Fordham Law Alumni Association. The association awarded her its Medal of Achievement in 1998. She received the Federal Bar Council’s Emory Buckner Award for Outstanding Public Service this year. Judge Preska is a trustee fellow of Fordham University.