Over the years, books and a motion picture have been written featuring Hobart alumnus Herbert J. Stern and his work as a federal prosecutor on such prominent cases as the murder of Malcolm X and the 1979 airplane hijacking. Judge Stern will be honored next week for his exemplary career and continued commitment to Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
GENEVA, N.Y. – Hobart and William Smith Colleges will hold opening day Academic Convocation ceremonies at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 3, on the Colleges’ Hobart Quadrangle. In addition to welcoming students and faculty to the new academic year, Convocation 2002 will feature the naming of the campus’ new academic building after alumnus the Honorable Herbert J. Stern.
Crediting his success to a well-founded beginning in the liberal arts, Judge Stern has given back as the lead donor of the new academic building. The 27,000 square-foot structure, now known as Stern Hall for the Social Sciences, will be completed in fall 2003. Stern will be the keynote speaker at the ceremonies.
Judge Stern, who received a bachelor’s degree from Hobart in 1958 and an honorary degree in 1974, is nationally known as a skilled trial lawyer and is recognized as one of the nation’s finest teachers of trial techniques and strategies. Currently, he is senior partner at Stern, Greenberg & Kilcullen in Roseland, N. J. From 1973 to 1987, he served as a U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey. Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Judge Stern held senior positions in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of New Jersey, the Justice Department, and the District Attorney’s office for New York City.
As an assistant District Attorney for the County of New York in the Homicide Bureau, Stern conducted the grand jury investigation into the death of Malcolm X, ordering the arrest of three men convicted of first-degree murder. At both the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s office, he investigated and prosecuted public corruption cases resulting in unprecedented convictions of public officials including the mayors of Jersey City, Newark, and Atlantic City.
At the age of 36, he was the subject of the book “A Tiger in the Court” and was nominated to the federal bench. Stern is the author of “Trial at Berlin” that details a 1979 airplane hijacking case over which he presided, which inspired a motion picture starring Martin Sheen as Judge Stern.
He also authored the five-volume, best-selling treatise “Trying Cases to Win.” Stern holds a degree from the University of Chicago Law School, and five honorary degrees. He has taught courses at the University of Chicago, Harvard, Yale and Columbia law schools. For the past 21 years, Judge Stern has served as co-director of the University of Virginia Law School Trial Advocacy Institute. Judge Stern received the Clarence Darrow Award for public speaking and has conducted trial advocacy courses.
At Hobart and William Smith, Stern has been a member of the Colleges’ Board of Trustees since 1997, serves on several Trustee committees including Education and Appointments, Honors, Institutional Advancement, Admissions and Financial Aid, Buildings and Grounds, and Student Affairs. Additionally, he has helped coach the Colleges’ ‘Mock Trial’ teams to compete against such schools as Columbia and Cornell. His son, Samuel, is a senior at Hobart College majoring in political science.
The public is invited to attend Convocation.
This story was also in the August 24 Democrat and Chronicle.