Family of NYLS Graduate Jay S. Watnick Makes a $1 Million Gift in His Memory

Gift Will Support Transformative Student Scholarships for Years to Come

In Recognition of Jay Watnick’s Love of Reading and Learning, NYLS to Establish the “Jay S. Watnick, J.D., Class of 1959 Reading Room and Legal Research Center”

New York, NY (April 29, 2019) – The family of New York Law School (NYLS) graduate Jay S. Watnick, a member of the Class of 1959, has honored his memory with a profoundly generous $1 million gift in support of student scholarships.

The gift, made by his wife, Marianna Watnick, and the Watnick family, establishes the Marianna and Jay S. Watnick ’59 Scholarship Fund. The Fund will benefit high-achieving NYLS students, with preference for those who have demonstrated interest in legal research or financial services, two areas of focus in Jay Watnick’s life.

In recognition of Jay Watnick’s lifelong love of reading, learning, and teaching, and his deep commitment to NYLS, the School is establishing the “Jay S. Watnick, J.D., Class of 1959 Reading Room and Legal Research Center” within its Mendik Library.

“He had the love for New York Law School, and I had the love for him,” said Marianna Watnick. “I want to honor him for being a loving and caring husband, father, grandfather, and mentor over all these years.”

“Jay Watnick is a role model for NYLS students, demonstrating how a relentless quest for knowledge is the foundation for a satisfying and successful legal career,” said NYLS Dean and President Anthony W. Crowell. “This gift honors his legacy by enabling others to improve their lives through legal education. I am profoundly grateful to Marianna Watnick and the Watnick family for their generosity and vision.”

Jay Watnick, who passed away in April 2018, embarked on a successful career in estate planning, pensions, and tax law following his graduation from NYLS. He held leading roles at some of the nation’s top insurance companies, including New York Life, Mutual Benefit Life, and Security Mutual Life Insurance Company, before creating his own pension administration company and leading Namco Financial Group. Friends dubbed him “the human encyclopedia” because of his affinity for research and intellectual discussion.

“Jay was my classmate, and we graduated together,” said Arthur N. Abbey ’59, Chair of the NYLS Board of Trustees. “We remained friends over the years, and he told me often how much he appreciated his legal education and how helpful it was to his business success. Now he will be forever remembered, with his name prominently displayed in the Jay S. Watnick, J.D., Class of 1959 Reading Room and Legal Research Center.”

“I am delighted that Marianna Watnick and the Watnick family are supporting research and learning at New York Law School,” said Susan Mendik, a member of the NYLS Board of Trustees and a longtime benefactor of NYLS’s Mendik Library. “Countless students will benefit from the Jay S. Watnick, J.D., Class of 1959 Reading Room and Legal Research Center. The scholarship fund will open doors and transform lives.”

NYLS’s Library is named for Susan Mendik’s late husband, Bernard H. Mendik ’58, a noted New York City real estate developer who served as Chair of the NYLS Board of Trustees.

The new Reading Room and Legal Research Center will be dedicated on May 3, 2019, as a special highlight during NYLS’s 2019 Alumni Celebration, which would have marked the 60th anniversary of Jay Watnick’s graduation from NYLS.