NYU Law’s Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (CDIB) will have a new name that honors Roger Meltzer ’77, an NYU Law trustee and chairman emeritus of DLA Piper. Following a celebration of its renaming in October, the center will be known as the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
Since its launch in 2016, the center has made a significant impact as an educational hub on issues of diversity, inclusion, and belonging; as the convenor of a speaker series that has included US Supreme Court justices, influential scholars, and leading figures in law and media; as a resource for NYU Law students seeking to integrate diversity and inclusion research into their academic careers; and as a guide for major institutions grappling with diversity and inclusion issues. The center is led by Faculty Director Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law, and Executive Director David Glasgow LLM ’14, whose co-authored book Say the Right Thing: How to Talk About Identity, Diversity, and Justice will be published in February 2023.
Meltzer and his wife, Robin, recently made a major gift to the center, and their outreach has resulted in additional support for the center from Meltzer’s professional and personal associates. During his more than four decades of practice in corporate and securities law, Meltzer has worked with clients including corporations, investment banking firms, commercial banks, private equity and investment funds, and other entities. At DLA Piper, which has committed a major gift to the center as well, he oversaw the firm’s expansion throughout the Americas and positioned it as a leader in advancing diversity and inclusion, partnering with the CDIB to conduct firm-wide diversity workshops. DLA Piper also donated more than 133,000 pro bono hours to legal assistance around the world in 2019. Meltzer previously was a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, where he worked from 1977 until he joined DLA Piper in 2007.
“I am thrilled the center will be renamed in honor of Roger Meltzer, a distinguished alum of the Law School and stalwart champion of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession,” says Yoshino. “As everyone knows, Roger is a force of nature, and his animating spirit has been with us from the center’s inception in 2016. His indefatigable support—financial, emotional, and moral—has allowed us to launch innovation after innovation, ranging from a leadership simulation course, to a theater-based JD orientation program, to cutting-edge executive education modules.
“The center is now a leading organization of its kind, and the fact that it will forever bear his name gives me joy,” Yoshino adds. “Roger’s commitment is a ringing testament to his desire to address one of society’s most urgent challenges—how to build diverse and inclusive institutions where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”
“It has been a true privilege to witness the establishment and growth of the center during my deanship, and to see how much it has already benefited both the Law School and those beyond its walls,” says Dean Trevor Morrison. “It has also been a joy and honor to work with our distinguished graduate, Roger Meltzer, on a range of projects during my time as dean. He knows how vital it is for institutions to commit to diversity and inclusion, and I am delighted that this new gift will both support the center in pursuit of its mission and forever link Roger’s name to this important work.”
“This center plays such an important role in NYU Law’s commitment to issues of diversity, inclusion, and belonging,” notes Dean-Designate Troy McKenzie ’00. “It is an invaluable part of the academic and professional life of the Law School community. I’m greatly encouraged by the increased support for the center, and I look forward to future engagement with its work.”
“In just six years, the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging has had a profound impact on both the Law School community and on our broader society,” Meltzer says. “It has offered multiple iterations of an innovative year-long simulation course on leadership, diversity, and inclusion, as well as an annual theater-based orientation program. Its speaker series has amplified the voices of crucial thought leaders. Prominent organizations from Black Theatre United to Microsoft have enlisted the center’s leadership in furthering their own diversity and inclusion endeavors. And most recently, its leaders Kenji Yoshino and David Glasgow have written a book on how allies can navigate conversations about identity, diversity, and justice. The center takes a fresh approach to issues of global significance, and I’m excited to see it expand its reach in the years to come.”