Professor Virginia A. Leary Memorial Fund

Hayes Hall.

Honoring a former human rights professor, this fund provides awards to Law School students demonstrating excellence in human rights internships.

Generations of would-be human rights advocates are benefiting from the goodwill that a beloved professor grew during nearly two decades of teaching at SUNY Buffalo Law School.

The Virginia A. Leary Memorial Fund for Human Rights honors its namesake, who taught in Buffalo from 1975 until she retired as a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in 1995. She died in 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, where she had lived since her retirement.

The fund, established with donations from individuals whose lives were touched by Leary and her work, enables monetary awards to recognize high-achieving students interested in human rights law, who may use them to, for example, help pay the travel costs to attend a human rights conference overseas.

Professor David Engel, a close friend and colleague of Leary, called her “an extremely kind and generous person. She was a strong individual in many ways as a human rights advocate, but she always struck you as very humble and sweet-natured, and with a wonderful sense of humor. She was someone who everybody loved.”

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