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Deitch Continues Family Legacy in Public Interest Law

Continuing a family tradition that has spanned more than three generations, Susan S. and Larry Deitch recently established the Susan and Larry Deitch Public Interest Law Scholars Fund with a generous commitment of $1.5 million.

"The Deitches' gift continues the legacy of a true Northeastern family — one that values education, community service, and the find work being done at the School of Law."

The Deitch Fund will provide 75 percent scholarships to one student in each class who intends to pursue a career in public-interest law. Recipients must be in good academic standing and demonstrate a strong commitment to the field. Upon graduation, Deitch Scholars will be expected to work in the public sector for at least five years.

Northeastern's School of Law is nationally recognized for its commitment to public-interest law, with its graduates pursuing careers at five times the national average.

With post-graduate debt in excess of $100,000 common, the prospect of a traditionally lower paying job in public-interest law is financially untenable for many.

"Larry and I are pleased to help students who might otherwise have a tough time pursuing this type of legal career," said Susan Deitch, who is the granddaughter of Reuben B. Gryzmish, L'12, Hon.'69.

The Deitch gift continues a family legacy begun in 1975, when Gryzmish's widow, Ethel, together with her daughters and sons-in-law Edna and Harry Shpiner and Ruby and Ben Schulman, established a memorial fund that provides public-interest scholarships and co-op stipends. Shortly after, the Schulmans established a second such fund.

Through continued support from family and friends and sound fiscal management, the funds are now valued at more than $800,000 and generate an impressive $50,000 in annual income.

"Those funds bore our family name and were a source of tremendous pride. We read with great interest the thank you letters from recipients, and were quite impressed to see the impact," said Susan. "The Deitch Scholars Fund will fit nicely with what the family has already done at Northeastern."

A trained lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, Gryzmish had many successful business ventures, including the Hotel Corporation of America (later the Sonata Hotels).

Susan Deitch remembers fondly visiting her grandfather at another of his businesses, the Alles & Fisher Cigar Co., which he ran with her father, Harry Shpiner, and uncle, Ben Schulman. The factory was located at 716 Columbus Avenue, which is now owned by Northeastern.

On a recent campus visit, Deitch was flooded with memories. "When I was a little girl, I would visit my grandfather there," she recalled. "He would be sitting at his roll top desk, and the air was filled with the smell of tobacco. It's a lovely memory, made more special now that the building is part of Northeastern, a place to close to my grandfather's heart."

Connections to Northeastern run deep in Deitch's extended family. Her brother Bruce Shpiner, MBA'73, and cousin Karen Schulman Stocker, L'74, received advanced degrees from Northeastern, and her nephew is a current student. An endowed lectureship/professorship and a scholarship in the College of Criminal Justice were established in memory of Deitch's cousin, David B. Schulman, who worked in the security field.

"The Deitches' gift is not only significant in that it provides much-needed support to students pursuing careers in public interest," remarked President Richard M. Freeland. "It also continues the legacy of a true Northeastern family — one that values education, community service, and the find work being done at the School of Law."

"Northeastern has been an important part of my family for many years," said Deitch. "Larry and I like very much the fact that long after we are gone, the funds will continue to help students for years to come."

School of Law
College of Criminal Justice
Public Interest Law Scholars
  This article appeared in the Spring 2004 issue of Pathways: The Leadership Campaign          

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