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Kreindler gift supports academic facility

Lee S. Kriendler 1945 Conference Center will be named in honor of pioneer in aviation accident litigation

A $2 million gift from the Lee S. Kreindler Foundation, Ruth B. Kreindler and James P. Kreindler will support the creation of a new academic facility at Dartmouth. A member of the Class of 1945, the late Lee Kreindler was a pioneer in international aviation accident law and a senior partner of the New York-based law firm Kreindler & Kreindler LLP. His wife, Ruth, is president of the Foundation and his son, James '77 is a partner with the firm and is vice president.

In Lee Kreindler's honor, a suite composed of a tiered classroom, a seminar room, and a multimedia room in the new Haldeman Center will be known as the Lee S. Kreindler 1945 Conference Center. The conference center will strengthen interdisciplinary studies at Dartmouth and accommodate a growing demand for meeting space. It will also serve the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding (a particular focus because of Kreindler's lifelong commitment to international relations and law), the Fannie and Alan Leslie Center for the Humanities and the Ethics Institute-the principal occupants of the Haldeman Center, which will open in fall 2006.

"Lee Kreindler had a well-earned reputation as a brilliant, empathetic man and an outstanding lawyer with a gift for bringing together people with disparate views," said Dartmouth President James Wright. "The conference center that bears his name will honor those qualities while fulfilling a critical, on-campus need."

"International understanding was something Lee strove for and often achieved in his lifelong work," said Ruth Kreindler. "His efforts were always directed toward conflict resolution rather than confrontation. We're pleased that the foundation could benefit the Dickey Center, a guiding light for students as they move into a world where those issues have never been more critical than now."

After graduating from Dartmouth with an AB in political science, Kreindler received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1949. He then joined his father's law firm, becoming a partner in 1951. The following year, the crash of a DC-6 into the yard of an orphanage in Elizabeth, N.J., led to his first aviation accident suit. Kreindler's dogged investigation into that case, which included work in a LaGuardia Airport propeller shop to understand aeronautics, launched a career in which he became widely acknowledged as a pioneer in aviation accident litigation. He authored the definitive book on the subject, Aviation Accident Law, a three-volume work published in 1963, and served as the lead plaintiffs' lawyer in numerous high-profile air-crash cases, including the Turkish Airlines DC-10 crash in 1974; the downing by Soviet MIGs of Korean Airlines Flight 007 in 1983; the TWA 800 disaster off Long Island, N.Y. in 1996; and the Swissair Flight 111 crash at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia in 1998. Many aeronautical safety improvements can be directly linked to lawsuits he litigated. The former dean and president of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, he was the lead counsel for the families of the victims of Pan Am Flight 103, which was blown up by Libyan terrorists over Lockerbie, Scotland, in Dec. 1988. He conceived and negotiated the signed agreement with Libya, wherein that country has already paid more then $2 billion to the victims' families.

The Lee S. Kreindler Foundation was created to further Kreindler's work and his devotion to employing the civil justice system to help those devastated by international tragedies. The Foundation has made a variety of gifts to institutions of higher learning.

The Kreindlers' gift responds to Dartmouth's commitment to foster interdisciplinary collaboration, a priority in the College's Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience. With an ambitious $1.3 billion goal, Dartmouth is seeking investment in four initiatives: to advance leading-edge teaching and scholarship; to enhance residential and campus life; to honor its commitment to making education accessible in the undergraduate college; and to raise unrestricted dollars. The Campaign is institution-wide, benefiting its undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences and its three professional schools, Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering and Dartmouth Medical School.

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Last Updated: 12/17/08