The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy is named in honor of Christopher Baldy, a 1910 graduate of the Buffalo School of Law, in the days when UB was the private University of Buffalo.
In 1911, Baldy joined the firm then known as Kenefick, Cooke, Mitchell & Bass as a law clerk, eventually becoming a partner and specializing in tax and corporation law. Today, the firm is Phillips Lytle LLP.
Baldy, variously described in 1959 newspaper articles as “reticent,” “unselfish,” “self- effacing,” “modest,” “astute,” “courtly,” “unassuming” and “a man of gentleness and humility,” was very active in Buffalo’s legal, political, religious and civic circles. An obituary in the May 25, 1959 edition of The Buffalo Evening News (published the day after Baldy died) gave a laundry list of organizations, boards and committees that claimed Baldy as a member, including the City of Buffalo’s Board of Social Welfare, the Erie County Democratic Committee and the Erie County Bar Association, where he served as president in the early 1940s.
Baldy’s most notable legacy beyond his legal career was perhaps his membership on the UB Council, the university’s primary oversight body, where he served as secretary. Baldy helped plan an expansion of the university, and, somewhat ironically, was active on the chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Bequests and Endowments.
Baldy, a bachelor, was generous with his money toward his alma mater. His estate was initially valued at more than $1.4 million. In his will, he left relatively small amounts to his church, the Erie County Bar Association, his Masonic lodge and his two sisters-in-law. Nearly all the rest went to his three brothers, and when they died, whatever was left over was to be given, with stipulations, to his alma mater, the University at Buffalo.
The year before he died, Baldy received one of UB’s most prestigious honors, the Samuel P. Capen Alumni Award, for the “courage, dignity, intelligence and devoted effort” he displayed for the benefit of the university. Chancellor Clifford C. Furnas said of Baldy at the time, “During the past 50 years, he has been so closely associated with the growth and history of Buffalo that we might say that the history of Buffalo could not have happened without him.”
Read more in the 2018 Monograph. 40 Years at the Baldy Center: A Law and Society Hub in Buffalo.