Fordham Law alumnus John F. Keenan ’54, longtime judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, was honored at this year’s Golden Rams Luncheon on October 2. Judge Keenan received the Milton Fisher ’42 Second Harvest Award, which recognizes a graduate who has embodied the Law School’s highest ideals of excellence and has made exceptional contributions to society in the humanities, legal profession, business world, their community, and charitable affairs after celebrating their 50th reunion.
“This afternoon, we salute a legal giant who has devoted more than 60 years of his career to public service,” said Dean Matthew Diller before presenting the award to Judge Keenan. “Our honoree is a paragon of Fordham Law’s and the legal profession’s most cherished values: fairness, justice, integrity, professionalism, and ethics.”
Judge Keenan was nominated to the federal bench September 13, 1983, by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the U.S. Senate a week later. Over the course of his 34 years of service, Judge Keenan has presided over many historically significant cases, including the sentencing of high-profile terrorists and the conviction of members of the Colombo crime family for racketeering, labor extortion, loan sharking, and bribery of public officials.
Judge Keenan graduated from Regis High School in 1947, was awarded a B.B.A. from Manhattan College in 1951, and received his law degree from Fordham Law School in 1954. Judge Keenan went on to serve two years with the United States Army, where he was assigned to the Army Security Agency, military intelligence.
During his time on the bench, Judge Keenan has hired most of his clerks from Fordham Law—one of whom, FLAA President Sharon McCarthy ’89, delivered welcome remarks. Later in the program, after Judge Keenan accepted the award, he enumerated the importance of those clerks.
“Of the 41 clerks [I have had], 38 of them have been from Fordham,” he said. “Any success that I have enjoyed during my 34 years on the mother court is of course due to the loyalty, the honesty, the intelligence, and the dedication of my law clerks.”