Alumna Applies Legal Skills to Help Nonprofits

M. Catherine Richardson ’63 H’05 Any attorney worth her salt could make a case that the results retired attorney M. Catherine Richardson ’63 H’05 has achieved in her exceptional legal career are balanced equally by the impact she has made through her volunteer work.

For nearly 40 years, Richardson has donated her time and talents to a wide range of civic and community organizations locally and more recently on national boards as well. Her latest accomplishment is being elected chair of the Board of Trustees of SRC Inc., a not-for-profit research and development company in North Syracuse, N.Y.

“I am proud to help this major employer and innovator accomplish its goals,” says Richardson, who has served on SRC’s board for more than 15 years. “I also felt it was an honor and my responsibility to show that a woman can lead a board of a STEM-focused company.”

The position allows Richardson to revisit her roots in the sciences and mathematics, passions which she said the great Oswego faculty encouraged her to pursue. Before earning a J.D. from Syracuse University, she was a high school math teacher and continues to advocate for young people, especially young women in the STEM fields.

During her stellar legal career at Bond, Schoeneck and King in Syracuse, she represented large nonprofits focused on health care, school districts and a variety of businesses. In 1996, she became only the second woman elected president of the New York State Bar Association, and earned recognition at the county and state level for her pro bono work on women’s issues.

Since retiring 10 years ago, she has put the skills she developed as a lawyer—listening and creative problem-solving, in particular—to use serving on dozens of boards. She served her alma mater as a member of the College Council, a speaker at Honors Convocation, and the chair of the Oswego College Foundation board of directors. Richardson, who attended law school with President Deborah F. Stanley, says she has been impressed with the college’s evolution under her colleague’s leadership.

“My mantra is to give back,” she says. “I’m proud to support my alma mater. It’s been fun watching Oswego grow and become a more prominent educational institution.”

—Margaret Spillett

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