A gift from James Leitner, LAW ’82, and his wife Sandra Leitner has allowed the Law School to establish its second chair in international human rights in two years.
The Leitners made a gift of $2 million in 2005, creating the first Leitner Family Chair in International Human Rights and launching the School’s Centennial giving campaign. Their most recent gift of $3.1 million establishes a second chair in the field, funds additional internships, and creates a human rights clinic.
“All of us are in the debt of Jim and Sandra for their extraordinary commitment to our human rights program,” said William Michael Treanor, dean of Fordham Law School. “What they have done is inspiring and overwhelming.”
Professors Martin Flaherty and Tracy Higgins, who had previously held the Leitner Chair on a rotating basis, will now each hold a full-time Leitner Chair. They will continue to spearhead the School’s international human rights efforts under the Crowley Program for International Human Rights.
The Leitner Chairs’ funding structure is unique in that income generated by the fund goes directly to the Crowley Program and related initiatives, rather than to faculty salaries, to offer students opportunities in the human rights area.
“The Leitners’ support dramatically increases the scope of our international human rights program,” said Martin Flaherty, professor and Leitner Chair. “The funding will allow us to give more students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field, through internships and work in the human rights clinic.”
In addition to providing student opportunities, the Crowley Program promotes scholarship in the human rights field and seeks to integrate human rights theory with concrete practice.
“There is so much work to be done, around the world in this field and this kind of support allows us to expand our involvement in advancing human rights internationally,” said Tracy Higgins, professor and Leitner Chair. “Through the new chair, we will continue to advance efforts spanning education, scholarship, and outreach.”
Treanor praised the work of Flaherty and Higgins in directing the School’s international human rights efforts.
“As scholars, teachers, advocates, and leaders, Tracy and Martin have undertaken and superbly carried out work of the most vital importance,” Treanor said.
James Leitner is a 1982 graduate of the Law School and the president of Falcon Management Corporation. Jim and Sandra Leitner have long supported the work of the Crowley Program though initiatives including the Leitner Fellowship Program, which funds Fordham Law students to intern for human rights groups abroad during the summer. The Leitners also have established a fund to improve the quality of student life at Fordham Law.