The University of Connecticut School of Law Library is now the Thomas J. Meskill Law Library. Named in honor of one of the law school's most distinguished graduates, it is fitting that this school which does so much in service to the public should be named after a man dedicated to public service.
Yesterday's naming ceremony featured remarks by Governor Jodi Rell, University of Connecticut President Michael J. Hogan, University of Connecticut School of Law Dean Jeremy Paul, United States Court of Appeals Judge for the 2nd Circuit Ralph K. Winter, Jr., Bracewell & Giuliani partner Kevin J. O'Connor '92, and Thomas Meskill's daughter Eileen Meskill. Associate Dean for Library and Technology Darcy Kirk presented a plaque to the family which will be installed in the library shortly.
Thomas J. Meskill '56 (January 30, 1928 - October 29, 2007) had the unique honor of serving in all three branches of government during his notable career. After receiving his Juris Doctor in 1956 from the University of Connecticut School of Law, Meskill was elected and served one term as Mayor in his home town of New Britain, Connecticut. In 1965, he participated as a member of the Constitutional Convention to draft a new Connecticut State Constitution. In 1966, he was elected to the United States Congress as a representative of Connecticut's 6th District where he served until 1970. At that time, he successfully ran for Governor of Connecticut, an office he held for one term.
Following his time as an elected official, Meskill began a new phase in his career as a federal judge. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1975. Though originally nominated by President Nixon in one of his last presidential actions, Meskill was ultimately appointed by President Ford.
Judge Meskill's intelligence and sensibility quickly won him the approval of his peers. He received the Connecticut Law Review Award in 1982 (14 Conn. Law Rev. xiii (1982)), which stated:
CONNECTICUT LAW REVIEW AWARD
As Governor of Connecticut and as a Mayor and congressman, you demonstrated the courage and integrity essential to effective service in the public interest. As Judge for the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, you have shown a vital interest and skill in fashioning workable solutions to the critical legal problems of our time. As a University of Connecticut School of Law graduate, you have maintained a deep concern for improving the quality of legal education in our state. The membership of the Connecticut Law Review commends you for your generosity to our school, for your commitment to serving the public, and for the intellectual honesty and conviction that have characterized your career.
West Hartford, Connecticut
April 14, 1982
In 1994, Judge Meskill received the American Bar Association's Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award and the Federal Bar Council's prestigious Learned Hand Medal. He served on the Second Circuit for 32 years until his death in 2007.
For those who were unable to attend, or who are interested in learning more about Thomas Meskill, an exhibit is on display directly to the right after entering the library. It features more information about Judge Meskill and his career, as well as photos and some political memorabilia. Please stop by and take a look! Many thanks to Lea Wallanius and Janis Fusaris for creating the display.
A short news segment on the naming ceremony is available here.