University breaks ground for Dineen Hall, future home of College of Law

The Dineen family gave the University a $15 million naming gift in 2010 to honor their parents, College of Law graduates Robert Emmet Dineen L’24, H’66, and Carolyn Bareham Dineen L’32. The site was dedicated on Nov. 5, 2010.

The 200,000 square-foot, five-story building will be constructed on the site of the Raynor parking lot, on the SU campus’ western edge and immediately west of the College of Law’s current buildings, E. I. White Hall and Winifred MacNaughton Hall. The location of the new building is particularly meaningful to the Dineen family, as it is close to the Irish immigrant neighborhood where Robert Dineen was born and raised.

Slated to open in fall 2014, the building will be distinctively designed to meet the personalized academic and research needs associated with legal study—and is intended to create a community dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and advocacy. A central atrium at the main level, full of natural light, will visibly link the core elements of legal study—a library, an iconic 330-seat ceremonial courtroom/auditorium, collaborative areas and celebratory space—and is positioned beneath a green roof that creates a seasonal outdoor terrace space. SU alumnus Richard Gluckman ’70, G’71, of the Gluckman Mayner architectural firm in New York City is the lead architect on the project.

“A dynamic legal education requires a learning environment that enhances connection, community engagement and opportunity,” says College of Law Dean Hannah R. Arterian. “Dineen Hall will reflect the changing momentum in legal education and the practice of law. Our new building will have space for interdisciplinary study and programs, collaborative work environments, a state-of-the-art library and ceremonial courtrooms.”

Robert and Carolyn Dineen were trailblazers in the local law community. A native of Syracuse, Robert went directly to law school (students at that time could go directly to law school without an undergraduate degree) and earned a certificate of law in 1924. Deemed too young to practice law, he went to work as a claims adjuster for insurance companies in Upstate New York and Canada. He joined Bond, Schoeneck & King in 1926 and later became a partner in the firm. Robert served as superintendent of insurance for the State of New York from 1943-50, and then joined Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Fifteen years later, he became the company’s president and CEO.

Carolyn Bareham Dineen, a native of Rochester, N.Y, faced challenges by virtue of being a woman. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from William Smith College and Columbia University, respectively, and enrolled in SU’s College of Law. She worked as a newspaper columnist to put herself through law school as her father, who did not believe women should be lawyers, refused to help her financially with her education. A pioneer among women, she earned a law degree at a time when, comparatively, few women were accepted into law school. Carolyn went on to establish a successful career at the local law firm of Costello, Cooney & Fearon before leaving the working world to raise her children.

The Dineen family’s $15 million lead gift for Dineen Hall is the largest gift in the history of the College of Law—and is counted in the total of The Campaign for Syracuse University. Fundraising for the building is ongoing, with $36 million raised and a goal of $46 million. The Campaign for Syracuse University’s “building futures” priority provides funds to critical infrastructure improvements that enhance teaching and research, and enables the University to provide state-of-the-art technology on campus; at regional centers in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.; and in study centers abroad. With a goal of $1 billion, The Campaign for Syracuse University is the most ambitious fundraising effort in SU’s history. Officially launched in November 2007, the five-year effort has raised more than $985 million, with less than eight months to achieve its goal by the end of 2012. More information is available online at