The Gift of Inclusion

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Alumnus Lee Jason Goldberg ’08 recently made a generous pledge to fund a scholarship to support LGBTQ students. Goldberg’s involvement in LGBTQ initiatives at Fordham Law dates back to his own time as a student, and he hopes to see the School’s community of LGBTQ students and alumni continue to flourish and grow.

“I’m helping an LGBTQ student attend Fordham Law School so that that student can receive the same outstanding education I did in an inclusive environment,” Goldberg said. “I believe that increasing LGBTQ representation in the student body benefits the whole community.”

Goldberg’s experiences as a Fordham Law student and alumnus speak to the ways in which the School’s LGBTQ groups work within the greater Fordham community. “Before I even started law school, I was invited to take part in a pre-orientation program with other incoming students from diverse backgrounds,” he said. “Including LGBTQ students like me sent a powerful message that Fordham—a Jesuit university—welcomes students of all sexual orientations.”

Playing a significant role in this welcome is Fordham OUTLaws, a group that Goldberg encourages incoming LGBTQ students to join. Founded in 1991, OUTLaws is Fordham Law’s LGBTQ student group. The group provides a supportive environment for LGBTQ students by hosting social, educational, and professional events for current students, alumni, and the wider community.

Also notable is Fordham’s recent establishment of a dedicated LGBTQ alumni affinity group, which will amplify LGBTQ student-alumni engagement, Goldberg stressed, to the benefit of all parties involved. At a luncheon on November 6, 2017, the Fordham Law Alumni Association officially launched the group, with Rich Ross ’86 as the event’s featured speaker.

The luncheon served as a personal reminder to Goldberg of the impact alumni can have, as Ross had been the speaker at Goldberg’s 2008 commencement ceremony.

“At the time, Rich was the president of Disney Channels Worldwide, and he mentioned in his speech that he’d never practiced law,” Goldberg explained. “Knowing that I didn’t want to practice either, my dad suggested I get in touch with this successful gay Fordham Law alumnus and see if he’d be willing to mentor me.”

Goldberg didn’t end up connecting with Ross then, but the two met at the launch, where Goldberg was able to tell Ross his story. Now, ten years after they first crossed paths, Goldberg said of Ross, “He’s become not only a mentor but a good friend.”

Since graduating, Goldberg has spent time as a clerk for another Fordham alumnus, Judge Arthur Gonzalez ’82, worked on the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and most recently, moved onto the financial advisory side of the restructuring field at GLC Advisors, a boutique investment bank.

Goldberg hopes to continue his involvement in Fordham Law’s LGBTQ community. “When I graduated from law school ten years ago, same-sex marriage was legal in just one state,” he said. “The LGBTQ rights that students are focused on today have changed, and there’s a great deal I can learn from them.”

Likewise, Goldberg has a lot to offer these students, from his recent gift to his participation in alumni groups, and beyond. “I hope I can help today’s students enter the professional world as out and proud individuals,” he said.

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