January 26, 2011


Frederick P. Schaffer cited for improving CUNY's academic environment

NEW YORK - Frederick (Rick) P. Schaffer of New York, general counsel and senior vice chancellor for legal affairs at the City University of New York (CUNY), was honored with the Excellence in Public Service Award from the New York State Bar Association on January 25 during its Annual Meeting at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. The award, sponsored by the State Bar's Committee on Attorneys in Public Service, recognizes individuals in government who demonstrate a "higher calling" through an extraordinary commitment to service, honor and integrity in the public sector. Shaffer is one of three individuals receiving the award.

The committee honored Schaffer for his unparalleled career serving New Yorkers as counsel to New York City Mayor Edward Koch, as chief litigating assistant corporation counsel of the City of New York, and as an assistant U.S. Attorney. In particular, the committee focused on his work as general counsel of CUNY, the nation's largest urban public university system. During his tenure at CUNY, his creative skills enabled the university system to be transformed into a leading institution of higher education that has welcomed a record number of students. With his legal guidance, CUNY was able to implement new financial models, allowing it to expand the size and quality of its faculty and raise its national profile. His masterful negotiation skills and creative thinking led to the development of CUNY's new community college, set to open in 2012, and the groundbreaking of the Lois V. and Samuel J. Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

"This year's recipients of the Excellence in Public Service Awards have each contributed to advancing the public interest of New Yorkers in different ways. Rick Schaffer's work has paved the way for thousands of men and women from all walks of life to get a college degree from a renowned educational system, opening career opportunities that would not otherwise exist," said State Bar President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson, Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP). "The State Bar is proud to recognize all the recipients for their outstanding service and I congratulate Rick Schaffer on receiving this award."

Committee Chair Hon. Peter S. Loomis of Albany (Retired, New York State Department of Transportation) said, "Every endeavor that Rick Schaffer undertakes is marked with his personal and deep commitment to service. He never forgets that his job is to help students and his effective leadership and innovation have improved the lives of countless New Yorkers. He is a worthy recipient of this prestigious honor."

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Schaffer was recently appointed counsel to the 2010 New York City Charter Commission by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He began his law career as a law clerk to the Hon. Francis L. Van Dusen and has  served as an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of New York (Civil Division).

Other recipients of the 2011 Excellence in Public Service Award are Jerome Lefkowitz of Albany, chair of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB); and Hon. Norman Goodman of New York, county clerk of New York County.

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for 135 years.