Law Women honored Carol Bellamy ’68 with the Alumna of the Year Award at the organization’s annual Alumnae Reception. The honor highlights NYU School of Law’s tradition of elevating women in the law and celebrates the achievements of its alumnae. Bellamy currently chairs the Board of Directors of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, which supports local initiatives aimed at strengthening resilience against violent extremism. Past award recipients come from a range of disciplines and include Eleanor Fox ’61, Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation; Robin Steinberg ’82, founder of the Bronx Defenders; Sara Moss ’74, executive vice president and general counsel of the Estée Lauder Companies; and Julie Brill ’85, commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.

Dean Trevor Morrison gave opening remarks and praised Law Women and its influence on the Law School’s culture. “NYU Law Women is an extremely important organization to the Law School,” he said. “It draws together students and graduates to form a network that continues after students graduate, but is really an enriching part of students’ lives while here as well.” Dean Morrison also highlighted NYU Law’s historic achievements in women’s leadership in the law, including the admission of women to its JD program in 1890, decades earlier than other law schools.

Chelsea Anneli ’18, Law Women executive co-chair, presented honoree Bellamy as “emblematic of the type of lawyer many of us want to be.” In the 1960s, before attending NYU Law, Bellamy served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala. She would later lead the organization as its director from 1993 to 1995. In other chapters of her career, she served as a New York state senator, president of the New York City Council, and executive director of UNICEF. Bellamy has also worked in the private sector at Bear, Stearns & Co.; Morgan Stanley; and Cravath, Swaine & Moore. 

In accepting her award, Bellamy took the opportunity to speak about the importance of education, especially for young women. While she noted that improvements have been made for women in the law since she was a student, she described educating young women as the “one thing” she believed would be most effective in improving human rights and equality worldwide. 

Juvenile girls make up two-thirds of the world’s uneducated children, and Bellamy outlined some of the particular challenges facing their education: safety during transportation and school hours, appropriate bathroom facilities, and gender-sensitive teaching approaches. Despite those challenges, Bellamy emphasized the “moral imperative” of educating young girls while also noting practicalities in support of their education, such as poverty reduction and greater economic growth. “Educating one girl improves her life,” Bellamy said, “but it also makes things better for everyone around her.”

Posted March 3, 2017