John and Diane Simpson Foundation Makes $250,000 Gift to Support Neuroscience and Law Center


Fordham Law School is thrilled to announce that the John and Diane Simpson Foundation has pledged $250,000 over the next five years to support the Law School’s Neuroscience and Law Center. John McManus, FCRH ’84, LAW ’87, president of the foundation, has recognized how strongly the surge in neuroscientific research over the decades has impacted the legal system. Given the Center’s accomplishments over the past seven years, he is particularly enthusiastic about fostering the Center’s future programs, conferences, and symposia.

John McManus, FCRH ’84, LAW ’87

“John Simpson enjoyed attending conferences on neuroscience worldwide and believed that success comes by bringing people together,” said McManus. In addition to Simpson’s commitment to neuroscience, McManus said the gift was also inspired by his daughter Emilia, member of the Law School’s Class of 2025 who, he notes, is committed to working with youth and intends to become a human rights lawyer.

“With John’s commitment, in addition to my and my wife’s commitment to this particular area, we began to consider how we could give back and what we could do at Fordham Law, a place that is so near and dear to my heart,” McManus added.

McManus felt the Neuroscience and Law Center was a natural fit for this gift upon learning more about the Center’s mission and the ongoing work spearheaded by the Center’s founding director, Professor Deborah W. Denno. Through innovative programs and in collaboration with academic partners, the Neuroscience and Law Center explores how advances in neuroscience affect the legal system. The Center also serves as a premier resource of evidence-based information about the increasing prevalence of neuroscience in twenty-first-century courtrooms.

“In my own business as an estate lawyer, the seminars that we often attend ‘feed’ us for 12 months,” McManus said. “Professor Denno creates programs that bring in domestic and international people of interest to present on topics on neuroscience and the law, which can send attendees away more completely apprised and immersed in this area of passion. Through this gift, I’m most looking forward to seeing the fruits of Professor Denno’s hard work, and hope that the Center’s seminars feed a population that is hungry to learn more for the next 12 months—and that each seminar builds upon the prior one.”

Deborah Denno

Deborah Denno

Denno is comparably enthusiastic. “The foundation’s generous gift is powerful in so many ways. It strengthens the Center’s lead in covering neuroscientific topics important to law practice and broadens the scope of the Center’s interdisciplinary audience,” she said. “The gift also enhances opportunities to bring the neuroscience and law communities together in a way we could only rarely do before. Similarly, these events can encourage further collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange between the Law School and Fordham University, boosting our combined resources.”

“These are just some of the reasons I am grateful to John and the foundation for this transformative gift,” Denno added. “There is much to look forward to in the Center’s future!”

The Center kicked off the 2022-23 school year on November 1 with “The Law and Neuroscience of Mass Shootings” symposium, sponsored by the John and Diane Simpson Foundation. The symposium was the second-most attended, Fordham-run CLE program in the Law School’s history.


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