Alumna to be honored at 144th Commencement

imageM. Catherine Richardson, attorney and former president of the New York State Bar Association, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from the State University of New York on May 14 at SUNY Oswego’s 144th Commencement.

She will speak at the ceremony for the School of Business and School of Education at 9 a.m. in Romney Field House.

The honor is in recognition of her career accomplishments in law and justice and her commitment to lifelong public service.

A 1963 graduate of SUNY Oswego, Richardson initially embarked on a career as a high school math teacher. In the 1970s, she turned to law, earning her juris doctor degree from Syracuse University and joining the firm of Bond, Schoeneck and King in Syracuse. She rose to senior partner, concentrating in education, business, health and insurance law.

Richardson has made contributions in local, state and federal legal arenas and has received a series of prestigious honors from the legal community. In 1996, she became only the second woman elected president of the New York State Bar Association.

Recent awards include the 2002 New York State Bar Association Ruth G. Schapiro Memorial Award, for her dedication to the causes of women and the law, and the 2003 Onondaga County Bar Association Distinguished Lawyer Award.

Her pro bono legal work on women’s issues, gender equity, eldercare and judicial access for the poor long ago earned her the Onondaga County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Award.

For more than 30 years, she has dedicated herself to various Syracuse civic organizations, not-for-profit agencies, youth-based councils, and human service entities, including Girls Inc. of Central New York, the Central New York Girl Scouts Council, United Way, the Museum of Science and Technology, Rosamond Gifford Foundation and St. Camillus Health and Rehabilitation Center.

She has been honored with awards from a number of these organizations and was named a Post-Standard Woman of Achievement in 1987.

Richardson served her alma mater as a member of the College Council and speaker at Honors Convocation. She is currently vice chair of the Oswego College Foundation board of directors. The Oswego Alumni Association honored her as a Distinguished Alumna in 1995.

The Richardson family’s association with the college dates back to the early 20th century. Richardson’s mother, Margaret Mansfield Richardson, a native Oswegonian, graduated from the Oswego Normal School in 1929, earned the rank of distinguished alumna in 1979, and served on the Oswego Alumni Association board of directors. Both Richardson’s mother and father, attorney George L. Richardson, served on Oswego’s College Council.

For more information on SUNY Oswego’s 144th Commencement, visit the Commencement information page.

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(Posted: Mar 23, 2005)