Michael K. Stanton Sr., JD, Class of 1950
Village Justice, Elmsford, NY
Former Member, Prep Board of Trustees
Father of Three Prep Graduates
Michael Kinsley Stanton was born in 1932, the son of Walter Xavier Stanton, an attorney, and Gertrude Kinsley Stanton, a schoolteacher. Mike grew up in the nearby Bronx parish of St. Nicholas of Tolentine along with his two younger brothers, Walter Jr. and Joseph. In September of 1946, he would make the short trip east along Fordham Road and arrive at the Prep to begin his freshman year. His brother Walter — “Ted” to friends and family — would follow him to Rose Hill a year later.
During his Hughes Hall years, Mike not only played varsity football and baseball, but he also found the time to be an active member of the Student Council, the French Club, the Chemistry Club and the Knights of the Blessed Sacrament. In the words of close friend, classmate, and fellow Hall of Honor member, Hon. Paul A Victor, “Even in those early years, it was quite apparent that Michael’s talent, dedication, sacrifice — and his inexhaustible energy — would allow his rocket ship to hold more cargo, run longer, and attain greater heights than any one of our classmates — including me.”
From the Prep, Mike went to Fordham College, where he was a Dean’s List student, treasurer of his junior year class, and president of the College Class of 1954. He was also elected to the bench of Rose Hill’s newly formed Student Supreme Court. After completing four-years with Fordham’s Air Force ROTC, Stanton served a tour of military duty as an officer in the Strategic Air Command of the United States Air Force and received the Commendation for Meritorious Service.
Returning from active duty, Stanton entered Fordham Law School, from which he graduated in 1959 — a classic three-time Fordham man. While in law school, he received the Constitutional Law Annual Prize and also served as an editor of the Fordham Law Review.
In 1959, Mike Stanton joined the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges — a remarkable feat back then for a boy from Bronx. In the words of Judge Victor: “In those days it was not easy for Fordham Law graduates to get jobs at any of the Manhattan law firms. But Mike made it happen. I believe that at that time, Michael may have been the only Irish Catholic Fordham graduate accepted by that firm, a firm that today has about 1,000 members — among them, thanks to Michael, many Fordham lawyers.” Mike eventually became a senior partner at that firm, as well as head of the litigation division. Among his more well-known clients: Barbara Streisand, Christopher Plummer and the Beatles.
Throughout his professional life, Stanton remained close to Fordham — Prep and university alike, lending his time and talent in many ways. Over the years, he would assist the Prep in fundraising initiatives; he would become a founding committee member for the Class of 1950 Scholarship Fund and would serve as special counsel for the establishment of the Albert P. Victor Scholarship. Mike always felt that he had been given much during his time at Fordham, and felt a responsibility to ensure that other deserving young men might have the same opportunity generation after generation. In 2001, Stanton capped his service to the Prep with a four-year term on the Board of Trustees.
Mike Stanton's loyalty and service to the Fordham family extended beyond Shea Hall to the college and law school as well. At the college, he served as director of alumni relations from 1976 to 1980 and as co-chairman of the 1954 Class Reunion Committee. He would also serve a stint on the Alumni Association's board of directors, would chair Fordham’s Annual Fund, and would sit a term as president of the Fordham Law Alumni Association. For his unwaning loyalty and tireless effort, he was honored with the Fordham Law School Alumni Medal of Achievement.
Beyond the gates of Rose Hill, Stanton also made himself available to his community, serving as the village justice of Elmsford, NY where he and his wife Barbara Johnson Stanton raised their five children, Michael Jr., Class of 1979; Timothy, Class of 1980; Brian, Class of 1981; Matthew; and Meagan.
He also served as longtime director and president of the Elmsford Little League, and from 2000 to 2007 was a member of the advisory council for Angela House, a Bronx County homeless shelter for mothers and their children. In 2005, he received the Angela House Achievement Award in recognition of his extraordinary efforts on behalf of the families the organization served.
Those who knew Michael Stanton agree that though his professional accomplishments were remarkable, they were dwarfed by his commitment to service, his unselfish devotion and loyalty to the schools that molded him, his willingness to work for the good of his community and the profound love he shared with his wife, Barbara, for their five children and their many grandchildren.
As described by a member of the Class of 1965, Mike “was very generous and classy, cherished the Prep, the University, and the Law School, was very caring, and always thoughtful of others.”
Michael K. Stanton Sr. passed away on July 22, 2009. A Mass of Christian Burial was held at the University Church.