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 VOL. 23, NO. 11DECEMBER 5, 1997 

Two Barnard Alumnae Honored with Spivack Award

Two Barnard graduates were honored last month when one received a prize named in honor of the other.

  The New York County Lawyers' Association (NYCLA) presented the first annual Edith I. Spivack Award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of women to New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, BC '58. The award was established to honor Spivack, BC '29, Law '32, and to mark the 25th anniversary of the NYCLA's Women's Rights Committee, of which she was the founding chair.

  Spivack was the driving force in establishing the committee in 1972, actively recruiting outstanding women attorneys and playing a significant role in identifying critical areas of discrimination against women.

  Under her leadership, the committee called attention to discriminatory legal and economic practices, including the often disrespectful treatment of women in the courts and the lack of women court officers. Spivack also focused on discrimination against women attorneys in both hiring and promotion in the private sector and their exclusion from private clubs, where significant business was conducted.

  But Spivack's concerns extended beyond women in the legal profession. She urged committee members to examine limitations on credit, insurance, and residential renting to women, especially those who were single, divorced, and widowed, and also pressed for studies on the abuse of women, child support and custody, and daycare facilities.

  A recipient of the Barnard Distinguished Alumna Award in 1984, and the Columbia Law School Medal for Excellence in 1988, Spivack spent virtually her entire working career at the New York City Office of the Corporate Counsel, retiring in 1995 after 61 years of service. She continues to work there as a pro bono consultant.

  The career of Kaye, the first winner of the Spivack award, has been a litany of groundbreaking events. The first woman named an associate judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, and now the first woman chief judge in the court's 150-year history, Kaye leads the court's deliberations and oversees the state's entire judicial system.

  Her many awards include the New York State Bar Association's Gold Medal for distinguished service, the organization's highest honor, and the Associations' Criminal Justice Section Special Recognition Award for the Preservation of the Jury System for her steadfast commitment and efforts to reform, reinvigorate, and preserve the jury system in New York.

  A Barnard trustee, Kaye delivered the keynote address at the College's 1996 Commencement, and received the Barnard Medal of Distinction in 1987.

  After receiving her tribute Kaye bestowed another honor upon Spivack: the first "Red Shoes Award," created by the judge herself. Named after the red shoes that Spivack favors, Kaye explained that the prize is given to a person who got a foot in the door, kicked it open and brought others along with her. In Spivack's case, Kaye said, it was generations of women.