Vanessa L. Bryant ’78 Retires From Federal Bench

Vanessa L. Bryant

Judge Vanessa L. Bryant '78 has retired as of Dec. 31, 2023 from the U.S. District Court in the District of Connecticut, where she served for more than 16 years. The first Black woman appointed to the federal court in New England, she issued many notable decisions, including a ruling in 2012 that the Defense of Marriage Act violated the Constitution. Before her appointment to the federal bench, Bryant served as a judge of the Connecticut Superior Court. She previously was a partner at Hawkins, Delafield & Wood LLP; a member of the Board of Pardons; Chapter 13 trustee for the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Connecticut; vice president and general counsel of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority; in-house counsel at Aetna Life & Casualty Co. and Shawmut Bank; and an associate at Day Pitney LLP, formerly Day, Berry & Howard LLP. Bryant, who took senior status in 2021,is legally blind and a role model for those with visual impairments.

Curtis Tearte ’78 Honored by Brandeis

Curtis Tearte ’78 is being recognized with a 2023 Alumni Achievement Award from Brandeis University, where he earned his BA in 1973. Brandeis is honoring Tearte during the school’s 75th anniversary celebration for his business and philanthropic leadership. Tearte worked at IBM for more than 30 years and served on the company’s Worldwide Management Committee, composed of the top 60 IBM senior executives. He is now chairman of the Tearte Family Foundation, which helps underrepresented students complete high school and pursue post-secondary education. Tearte has served on the Brandeis Board of Trustees and the board of the University of Connecticut Law School Foundation.

Marilda Gandara ’78 Inducted Into Immigrant Hall of Fame

Marilda Gandara '78, a member of the UConn Board of Trustees, was inducted at a ceremony on July 14, 2022, into Connecticut's Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame. Gandara, who emigrated from Cuba to the United States with her family as a child, worked at Aetna for 30 years and became president of the Aetna Foundation. She was among four people inducted at the ceremony, including Radenka Maric, UConn's interim president, who was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina when it was part of Yugoslavia.

Marilda Gandara

UConn Law Alumni Named in HBJ Power 50

Hartford Business Journal announced its 2021 Power 50, which aims to highlight private and public sector, nonprofit, higher education and healthcare leaders in Greater Hartford whose power and influence not only change the organizations they work for but the broader community. The following UConn Law Alumni were recognized: Matt Ritter ’07, Martin Looney ’85, Senator Christopher Murphy ’02, The Honorable Joseph D. Courtney ’78, The Honorable Kevin Kelly ’97, Jennifer Jackson ’93, Michael ’83 JD, and DeVaughn Ward ’11. Read their bios and see rankings here.

Fred Cantor ’78 Publishes New Memoir

Fred Cantor ’78 has published a book about his lifelong fascination with the Knicks, including his friendship with UConn Law Professor Emeritus Lewis Kurlantzick, an expert in sports law and a fellow Knicks fan. The book, “Fred from Fresh Meadows: A Knicks Memoir,” was published in November. Cantor will donate all the royalties to the John Starks Foundation, a scholarship fund founded by the retired Knicks star. The new book is Cantor’s third. He has also worked as a film writer, producer and as a lyricist.

Curtis Tearte ’78 honored with Distinguished Graduate Award

The University of Connecticut Law School Alumni Association will be honoring Curtis Tearte ’78 with the Distinguished Graduate Award next month. Tearte currently serves as vice chairman of the Brandeis Board of Trustees and formerly served on the board of the University of Connecticut Law School Foundation. He is also the chairman and founder of the Tearte Family Foundation. Tearte took on numerous executive roles at IBM, which he worked at for 30 years, and is known as a business transformation technology leader. The award will be presented virtually during LSAA’s Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on October 13, 2020.