St. John’s University mourns the passing of the Hon. Basil Paterson ’48C, ’51L, ’79HON, a double alumnus who distinguished himself as a political leader, civil rights champion and labor lawyer during more than 60 years of service to the people of New York State. He was 87.
“With the passing of Basil Paterson, not only has our University lost a loyal and accomplished alumnus, but our city, state, and nation have lost a public figure of immense importance and profound integrity,” said Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president of St. John’s. “We are all truly fortunate to have benefited from his personal commitment to the cause of justice. Our prayers and deepest sympathies are with his wife, Portia; his sons, Daniel and former Governor David Paterson; and the entire family.”
Paterson remained active at his alma mater. Earlier this month, he served as a presenter at the Spring 2014 Title VII Symposium sponsored by the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development of St. John’s School of Law.
“Basil Paterson exemplified the values of opportunity and service that have animated St. John’s Law for almost 90 years,” said Dean Michael A. Simons. “As the child of immigrants, he used his legal education as a springboard to a career at the highest levels of government and the legal profession. Just as importantly, he dedicated his career to serving the public and passionately advocating for workers.”