50th Annual George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award Virtual Celebration

On September 15th, AFHU’s Northeast Region held its long-standing lawyers’ event, presenting the distinguished 50th Annual George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award to Martin Lipton, co-founder of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (WLRK), and a leading member of New York’s legal community. To mark the milestone occasion, Past Award Recipients were also recognized.

This year, the award celebration pivoted to a virtual platform, yet it remained meaningful and memorable – perhaps even more so — for it attracted individuals and firms from across the country and around the world.

The program’s keynote speaker was Ambassador Dennis Ross, an expert who played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process. It was encouraging to hear his uplifting views and positive outlook for peace.  Charles A. Stillman (Ballard & Spahr LLP), a past award recipient and friend to AFHU and Mr. Lipton, introduced Ambassador Ross.  Special guest speaker, participating from Israel, was Hebrew University’s former President, Chancellor Menahem Ben-Sasson.

Pamela Nadler Emmerich, AFHU’s Northeast Region Co-President and HU alumna,  opened and closed the program, providing context as to how the Faculty of Law grew to become Israel’s premier law school, garnering global recognition. Frances R. Katz,  widow of the late George A. Katz (z”l), for whom this event is named, recounted the numerous ways Mr. Lipton and WLRK, her extended family, supported her throughout the years. Mr. Katz, co-founder of WLRK, was a philanthropic leader dedicated to Hebrew University (HU) and AFHU’s mission. Frances Katz has continued his legacy,  serving on AFHU Boards in various leadership roles, and generously supporting students, faculty, and research at HU.

Martin Lipton, in his award acceptance speech, also shared fond memories of George Katz, accrediting him with cultivating the firm’s culture to be “like-family”.  A leading corporate M&A policy strategist and inventor of the “poison pill”, Mr. Lipton was shown to have a softer side as colleagues, friends, and family members briefly shared personal stories about him and his accomplishments, recognizing this legal icon as a philanthropist, advocate for education and supporter of human rights. Presenting the award to Martin Lipton was Adam O. Emmerich, HU alumnus and WLRK partner.

Event Co-Chairs and Tribute Committee: Adam O. Emmerich, Pamela Nadler Emmerich, Daniel R. Fischel,  Edward D. Herlihy, Meyer G. Koplow, Kenneth G. Langone, Vincent Levy, Carol L. Ludwig, Eugene A. Ludwig, Theodore N. Mirvis, Daniel A. Neff, Michael S. Shuster, and Herbert M. Wachtell.

We are delighted to share excerpts from our virtual celebration with you, (See links below). If you would like more information about this or future events, make a donation, or learn more about the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, please contact Maura Milles at 212.607.8519 or [email protected].

Digital Journal (and virtual tour of Hebrew University)

Scroll of Honor Listing

The Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

“Congratulations Marty”

The video’s roster of well-wishers include:

Kenneth Langone (Founder/CEO, Invemed Associates), Honorable Eugene & Dr. Carol Ludwig (Ludwig Family Foundation), Daniel Neff (Co-Chairman, Executive Committee, WLRK),  Edward Herlihy (Co-Chairman, Executive Committee, WLRK), Herbert Wachtell (Founding Partner, WLRK), Daniel Fischel (Chairman/President, Compass Lexecon), Gary Naftalis (Co-Chairman, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP), Henry Kravis (Co-Chairman/Co-CEO, KKR), Gregory Hayes (CEO, Raytheon Technologies Corporation), Evan Chesler (Chairman, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP), Theodore Mirvis (Partner, WLRK), Meyer Koplow (Of Counsel, WLRK), Thomas Germinario (Sr. VP, D.F. King & Co., Inc), Aaron Marcu (Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP), Katherine Lipton (Martin’s Daughter), Samantha Lipton & Kevin Schwartz (Martin’s Daughter & Son-in-Law), Susan Lipton (Martin’s Wife).