The Dineen family presented the University with a $15 million naming gift in 2010 to honor their parents, College of Law graduates Robert Emmet Dineen L’24, and Carolyn Bareham Dineen L’32.
Robert Emmet Dineen L’24 grew up in a neighborhood close to the west side of campus. Known as “The Swamp,” it was a neighborhood largely made up of Irish immigrants. Attending law school directly out of high school (which was possible at the time), Robert earned a certificate of law rather than a law degree, Robert was deemed too young to practice law immediately upon graduation in 1924. After working as a claims adjuster for insurance companies in Upstate New York and Canada, he joined Bond, Schoeneck & King in 1926. Carolyn Bareham Dineen L’32 grew up in Rochester and was one of only two women in her law school graduating class.She earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from William Smith College and Columbia University, respectively. A pioneering and determined spirit, she worked as a newspaper columnist to put herself through law school when her father refused to assist, as he did not believe that women should be lawyers.
The Dineens met in Syracuse when they were representing co-defendants in a lawsuit. The couple had four children, Carolyn Dineen King, Kathryn Dineen Wriston, Robert E. Dineen Jr. L’66, and Larry, who died of leukemia in 1951. Robert and Carolyn worked hard, and sacrificed much to establish themselves in the Syracuse law community. Robert eventually became a partner in the Bond, Schoeneck & King law firm, later serving as superintendent of insurance for the state of New York, and finally became the president and CEO of Northwestern Mutual Life. Carolyn, one of only two women in her law school class, went on to a successful career as a lawyer in the Costello, Cooney & Fearon firm.
Carolyn, Kathryn, and Robert all followed in their parents’ footsteps, becoming prominent lawyers and active members of their communities. Carolyn Dineen King is a Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Houston, Texas. Kathryn Dineen Wriston is an attorney who has served on the boards of many public companies and community organizations. Robert is a retired partner, formerly with Shearman & Sterling in New York City, a member of the SU Board of Trustees, and the College of Law’s Board of Advisors.
The Dineen gift honors the legacy of Robert and Carolyn Dineen, both proud graduates of the College of Law, accomplished attorneys, and parents who instilled in their children a love of learning, an enthusiasm for hard work, and the importance of giving back to the community. For Robert, Jr., his proudest moment was at SU in June, 1966, when his father was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University. Robert, Sr., proudly, and for the first time, entered the front door of Sims Hall on campus. Previously, he had always used the back door when making deliveries for the Syracuse Ice Cream Company. At last, he said, there would be no more family jokes that he was the only one in his family without a degree.
“If my father and mother had not gone to Syracuse University College of Law,” said Robert Jr., speaking to the College of Law students at the college’s annual Law Review Banquet in April, 2012, “Carolyn, Kathy and I would not be here today.” Syracuse pride runs deep, he explained, in every member of his family.