Stephen A. Peduto
The New York Times Obituary:

July 5, 1992, Sunday, Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section 1; Page 26; Column 2; Metropolitan Desk
LENGTH: 143 words
HEADLINE: Stephen A. Peduto, Law Student, 36

Stephen A. Peduto, who astonished his fellow students in the graduating class of New York Law School last month by saying he had AIDS, died on Wednesday at Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 36 years old and lived in Jersey City.

He died of pneumonia and other AIDS-related complications, according to a friend, William Diskin.

A graduate of the University of Chicago, Mr. Peduto was doing graduate work at Columbia University when he was diagnosed with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, in 1983. He entered law school in 1988 and, in addressing the graduating class, said he had been battling AIDS since then but was determined to get his law degree.

Mr. Peduto is survived by his parents, Anthony and Susan Peduto of Belmar, N.J., and a sister, Nicoletta Ferraiola of Manasquan, N.J. His companion was Richard Skinner of Jersey City.

Newsday Obituary:

NY Law Grad Dies Of AIDS Pneumonia:[CITY Edition]
By Curtis Rist. STAFF WRITER. Newsday. (Combined editions).Long Island, N.Y.: Jul 3, 1992. pg. 04

Copyright Newsday Inc., 1992

A month ago, Stephen A. Peduto stunned fellow graduates at New York Law School by telling them in a brief but moving speech that he had been battling AIDS for as many years as he had been studying law.

"Here I am," the 36-year-old top student told the audience that included his parents, "living proof that people with AIDS can live and achieve their goals and not just die of the disease."

On Wednesday night, just four weeks after the graduation ceremonies, Peduto died at the Cabrini Medical Center of pneumonia and other complications related to AIDS, friends and hospital officials said.

"He went back to the hospital on June 20, and was very anemic and his systems were starting to shut down," said William Diskin, a friend of Peduto's from the University of Chicago, where both were undergraduates.

After his speech to the law school's 430 graduates, Peduto said he learned that he was HIV-positive in 1983, after he volunteered for a study by St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center while a student at Columbia University.

The news left him "like a zombie" for a couple of weeks. "But then I thought, we all die anyway, and I thought that I would try to accomplish what I can," he said. "That's been my attitude since day one."

Peduto worked as a computer engineer at an aeronautics company in Teterboro, N.J., and volunteered with the Hyacinth Foundation to help people with AIDS by shopping for them and helping them around the house.

But, he said, he felt frustrated by the work, and wanted to do something more to help those with the disease.

He enrolled at New York Law School in the fall of 1988, and two weeks later was diagnosed with AIDS. Symptoms rapidly accumulated, as did his academic honors at school, where he achieved a near-perfect record and won the accolades of the school's faculty.

Peduto finished his studies in January, and passed the bar in New York and New Jersey this past spring. But he was left half-blind and severely hobbled by his ailments, and spent the weeks before graduation at Cabrini.

"I told the doctors that, by hell or high water, I was going to be there, even if I had to check myself out in the morning and return that night," Peduto said.

Funeral services are tentatively scheduled for Monday at the Leber Funeral Home, 2000 Kennedy Blvd. in Union City, N.J.

Newsday photo by Ozier Muhammad- Stephen A. Peduto during his graduation last month from New York Law School. He graduated with honors.

Excerpt From Gaynet newsgroup posting:

Date: Mon, 13 Jul 92 08:38 EDT


Graduation speaker Sandra Day O'Conner was eclipsed 11 June when Stephen Peduto, a New York Law School graduate, riveted the audience when he limped to the podium to deliver brief remarks. "Here I am, living proof that people with AIDS can live and achieve their goals and not just die of the disease," said Peduto, who, depsite almost four years of living with AIDS, graduated at the top of his class. He told his peers, "In our society, lawyers are also asked to be advocates for justice. Remember this obligation. Remember those who need your help to live and achieve." Peduto's announcement surprised most of his 129 fellow graduates, as well as his 72-year-old father, with whom he had never discussed his condition.


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