As the center marks its 40th anniversary, we look back at a few of its defining moments.
1910: Christopher Baldy graduates from the Buffalo School of Law.
1959: Baldy dies, leaving a substantial gift to UB, to be delivered after his three brothers pass away.
1970: Richard D. “Red” Schwartz, a sociologist with no law degree who had co-founded the Law and Society Association, is appointed as dean of the law school.
1973: With the passing of the three Baldy brothers, Erie County Surrogate Judge William J. Regan, a graduate of the law school, signs a decree allowing Christopher Baldy’s endowment to be used for an interdisciplinary program in law and social policy.
1975: Buffalo hosts the first-ever formal meeting of the Law and Society Association.
1978: The program is formalized into the Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy under the deanship of Thomas Headrick. Barry Boyer of the law school and Jim Brady of the philosophy department are named co-directors.
1981: Brady leaves the co-directorship, and Boyer becomes the sole director.
1986: The Baldy Center’s “working groups” – consisting of faculty interested in a specific subject who collaborate on research – debut.
1992: David M. Engel takes over as director of the Center following Boyer’s appointment as dean of the law school. The working groups have evolved into more formal Baldy Programs.
2001: Engel leaves the directorship and Errol Meidinger takes over as interim director.
2002: Political scientist Lynn Mather is appointed as the next director, the only time UB looked outside its walls to find a leader for the Baldy Center. Mather, who had just completed a term as president of the Law and Society Association, comes from Dartmouth College.
2006: The law school and Baldy Center debut a complete renovation of space on the fifth floor of O’Brian Hall. The $1 million-plus project, funded partly with Baldy money, created a suite with a major conference area and a smaller seminar area, and an elegant new faculty lounge attached to a faculty reading room. Also: the Baldy Center helps organize a conference during which the law school hosts the Dalai Lama.
2008: Rebecca French becomes director of the Baldy Center.
2010: Errol Meidinger becomes director of the Baldy Center.
2011: Meidinger replaces the working group structure, which had again become less formal, with a new program that hosts post-doctoral fellows and visiting researchers.
2018: The Baldy Center and the UB School of Law celebrate the Center’s 40th anniversary by hosting a Mitchell Lecture – scheduled for November – on critical challenges of Law and Society research. The featured speaker will be John Braithwaite of the Australian National University.