168th Commencement: Watch Live
Albany Law School is proud to confer two honorary degrees this year at its 167th Commencement on May 18, 2018. Receiving honorary degrees will be Edward P. Swyer, President of the Swyer Companies, and Alexander Hamilton, posthumously, one of the nation's founders. Douglas Hamilton, Hamilton's 5th great-grandson, will accept the degree.
"Edward Swyer has been a part of Albany Law School for decades. He has made a significant and lasting impact on Albany Law School's students, on our Clinic and Justice Center, and in the lives of our Clinic's clients," said Alicia Ouellette, President and Dean. "He is a true believer in the power of law to build and strengthen communities, and a strong advocate for the important legal work done by our Clinics. I'm honored to award him this degree."
More: Original Hamilton Documents on Display, May 14-21
Dean Ouellette added, "Alexander Hamilton's ties to the Albany area are significant. Hamilton studied law and practiced law in Albany. He wrote Federalist #1 while traveling between Albany and New York City. By conferring this degree, we are acknowledging his impact on the Capital Region and New York's legal community."
Edward P. Swyer
P. Swyer serves as President of the Swyer Companies, a real estate
company that owns and manages commercial developments in the Capital
District, including Stuyvesant Plaza. Mr. Swyer is also a Managing
Partner at Selected Properties of the Northeast. Mr. Swyer is a serial
entrepreneur who has founded and grown several successful companies,
including Capital Bank & Trust, the Swyer Companies, and Selected
Properties of the Northeast. He has been a Director of CÜR Media, Inc.
since November 16, 2017. He served on the Boards of Central Hudson Gas
& Electric Co. and Capital Bank & Trust Co., and currently
serves as a Member of the Advisory Board at FA Technology Ventures. He
also has served as an Advisor at Chase Manhattan Bank's Eastern New York
Region, Director of Fort Orange Financial Corp, and a Director of CH
Energy Group, Inc.
Mr. Swyer and the Swyer family have been an
important part of the law school community since before his father's
construction company, The L.A. Swyer Co., Inc., built the Schaffer Law
Library in 1986.
For more than 20 years he has assisted in
developing Albany Law School's Lewis A. Swyer Academic Success Program,
which provides additional academic support for first-year law students.
He has also helped with the clinics that serve domestic violence
Most recently Mr. Swyer and The Swyer Family Foundation
helped establish the Community Development Clinic, where students
provide legal help to early-stage start-up businesses and community
organizations. Students, under the supervision of a professor or
practicing attorney, help the businesses choose and form the appropriate
entity, protect intellectual assets, access grant funding, audit
employment policies, write contracts, and more.
In 2008 the law school honored Mr. Swyer with the Trustees Gold Medal.
Alexander Hamilton Alexander
Hamilton was an immigrant, the nation's first Secretary of the
Treasury, author of a large portion of the Federalist Papers, and a
Colonel to George Washington in the Revolutionary War.
traveled to Albany for the first time in 1777 on behalf of George
Washington to meet with General Horatio Gates, to convince Gates to
provide Washington with reinforcements.
In 1780, Hamilton married
Elizabeth Schuyler at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany where Aaron Burr
was one of the invited guests. Elizabeth was the daughter of the
prominent Albany family patriarch Philip Schuyler, a Revolutionary War
general, and Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler.
considerable time in Albany, staying often with his in-laws when legal
work brought him to the state's high courts. Both Hamilton and Aaron
Burr studied law and were admitted to the bar by 1783. They both opened
law offices in New York City. Because New York's Capitol, the highest
court—the Supreme Court of Judicature (later the Court of Appeals)—and
the state legislature were all in Albany, Hamilton and Burr were
frequently in the area. Burr kept an office at 24 South Pearl Street,
while Hamilton often stayed with his in-laws the Schuylers.
Continuous conflicts between Burr and Hamilton eventually led to Burr challenging Hamilton to a duel in 1804. It was the Albany Register that published a letter with disparaging remarks allegedly made by Hamilton about Burr that brought the conflict to a head.
Reportedly Hamilton shot in the air, but Burr aimed and hit his target. Hamilton died the following day at age 47.