Albany Law School celebrated the tremendous life of Peter M. Pryor ’54 and officially announced a scholarship that will perpetuate his legacy with future lawyers of color on May 25, 2022.
Pryor, a prominent civil rights attorney and public affairs leader in the Capital Region, died on January 17, 2022—Martin Luther King Jr. Day—at age 95.
On May 25, 2022, Pryor’s son Marcus and his family, friends (including Hon. Randolph F. Treece '76), members of the law school community, and public officials Rep. Paul Tonko and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan ’94 spoke in the law school courtyard to officially launch the Peter M. Pryor ’54 Scholarship.
The scholarship will be awarded to Black, Indigenous, or people of color who are pursing law.
“Throughout his life, Peter fought for equity and inclusion. He was an inspiration for so many. I’m proud to have known him and we are proud to be able to count him as part of the Albany Law School family,” said President and Dean Alicia Ouellette ’94.
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After being the first African-American to graduate from Albany Law School since the Reconstruction era, Pryor went on to a celebrated career as a civil rights attorney and in public service often challenging authority and being a key figure in many high-profile discrimination cases in the 1950s.
He served as an Assistant Attorney General and counsel to the New York State Pure Waters Authority and was appointed Chairman of the New York State Consumer Protection Board by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. He founded the Albany Urban League and served as president and general counsel for the Albany chapter of the NAACP. After leaving public service in 1980, he returned to private practice.
He was also a recipient of the highest accolade bestowed by Albany Law School, the Trustees Gold Medal, which is given to an individual who has demonstrated a record of exemplary support and dedication to the advancement of Albany Law School.
Watch WNYT-13's coverage of the evening