Accomplished alumni to speak, receive honors at Commencement

Two attorneys who are accomplished SUNY Oswego alumni will be speakers at the college’s dual commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 20, when they receive honorary degrees from the State University of New York.

Errol B. Taylor, a prominent litigator in New York City, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 9 a.m. ceremony. Christian Mensah, a legal officer with the United Nations, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 1:30 p.m. ceremony.

The National Law Journal recognized Taylor as one of the top 10 litigators in the country in 2003. He has served as lead trial counsel in complex cases involving chemicals and pharmaceuticals, including patent litigation involving generic drug approvals.

A native of Jamaica, Taylor majored in biology at Oswego. He graduated in 1977 and worked at Squibb Corp. from 1977 to 1987 helping to develop new pharmaceuticals. He earned his juris doctor degree at New York Law School in 1987.

He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1988 and joined the New York firm of Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper and Scinto, becoming a partner in 1994. In 2003 he joined one of the world’s most highly regarded litigation and arbitration practices, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.

Taylor played a leading role in establishing SUNY Oswego’s reunions for alumni of color, has hosted events for accepted students of color and contributed generously to diversity scholarships. He serves on the Oswego College Foundation board of directors and on the campaign cabinet for the college’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Since 1990, Mensah has worked as a legal adviser to the United Nations, serving with the Mozambique Mission, the legal committee of the General Assembly, U.N. programs in Somalia and the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization. He is currently senior legal officer for the United Nations in Nairobi.

He represented the Republic of Vanuatu as that South Pacific island nation’s delegate to the General Assembly. In that capacity, he participated in the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and was one of the drafters and negotiators of the resulting documents, including Agenda 21, a blueprint for action to achieve sustainable development worldwide.

A native of Ghana, Mensah majored in political science at Oswego, graduating in 1984. He stayed on, working in the college’s International Education Office, before enrolling in Boston University School of Law, where he received his first law degree. He earned a master of laws degree from Columbia Law School.

Mensah retains a home in Oswego and returns several times a year, visiting his alma mater and speaking in classes.

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(Posted: Apr 05, 2006)