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Nys Lieutenant Governor Mary O. Donohue Awarded Clarkson University Honorary Degree
[A JPEG image of Donohue is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/donohue.jpg]
Potsdam, N.Y. -- New York State Lieutenant Governor Mary O. Donohue today (May 16) received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 106th Commencement in Potsdam, N.Y.
The degree was awarded for "her exemplary role and accomplishment as an educator and elected public servant, and for her vigorous leadership and noteworthy pursuit of justice in women's issues and family law."
Mary O. Donohue began her career as a schoolteacher and then served as a district attorney and State Supreme Court justice before being elected lieutenant governor of New York State in November 1998.
A graduate of the College of New Rochelle, she taught elementary and junior high school in Rensselaer and Albany County for 10 years, during which she earned an M.S. in education from Russell Sage College. In 1983, she earned a juris doctor degree from Albany Law School of Union University, having served as a law clerk and intern in the U.S. Attorney's office.
Following admission to the New York State bar, she worked as an associate attorney in Albany and, from 1988 to 1992, ran her own law practice in Troy. From 1990 to 1992, she also served as an assistant Rensselaer County attorney and gained invaluable experience while representing the county in Family Court.
Elected Rensselaer County's first female district attorney in 1992, she was reelected in 1995 with 70 percent of the vote. In 1996, Governor George E. Pataki appointed her chair of the Capital District Women's Advisory Council. This appointment followed her 1994 service to then Governor-elect Pataki's Transition Team for Criminal Justice.
As district attorney, she attained wide-ranging respect for expertise in areas including domestic violence, child abuse, the death penalty, and juvenile justice. She personally tried cases ranging from murder and attempted murder to sexual abuse, all of which resulted in convictions, and also oversaw nearly 5,000 criminal prosecutions each year. She compiled an impressive crime-fighting record and ran for reelection with a 98 percent felony conviction rate
In 1996, Donohue was elected as the first female State Supreme Court justice from Rensselaer County by an impressive 20,000-voter margin in a six-way race.