In Memoriam: Sadie F. Berkson, longtime Chicago-Kent friend and benefactor

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

The Chicago-Kent community was saddened by the recent death of Sadie F. Berkson, a cherished friend and benefactor of the law school, a devoted champion of Chicago-Kent students, and a member of the Chicago-Kent Board of Overseers.

"Sadie Berkson was a gift to our law school—an individual of rare grace, loyalty and generosity," said Chicago-Kent Dean Harold J. Krent. "Sadie said she felt obligated 'to put back into the earth a measure of all the things I've been privileged to have.' Her dedication to Chicago-Kent and its students testifies to the courage of her conviction."

Mrs. Berkson's ties to Chicago-Kent date to 1940, when she married Chicago attorney I.J. Berkson '18 and joined him in supporting his alma mater. After Mr. Berkson's death in 1982, Mrs. Berkson became the guiding force behind the creation of Chicago-Kent's I.J. Berkson Reserve Reading Room, completed in 1991 and widely regarded as one of the premier library reading rooms in the Midwest.

"I.J. was dedicated to education," Mrs. Berkson remarked after the building's dedication. "So every time I visit Chicago-Kent and see that the students have a nice place of quiet and solitude to study, my heart is filled with joy."

In 1992, on the tenth anniversary of Mr. Berkson's death, Mrs. Berkson established the I.J. and Sadie Berkson Scholarship Fund for Chicago-Kent students and worked continuously thereafter to raise money to augment the fund. "I do it to carry on I.J.'s vision, " she said. To date, the Berkson Scholarship has funded the legal educations of 14 students. "My kids are the best!" Mrs. Berkson remarked recently. "They've been so appreciative, and I'm so proud of all of them."

Mrs. Berkson also served for several years as co-chair of the Chicago Consular Ball, a benefit for Chicago-Kent's Library of International Relations, and contributed immensely of her time and effort to support the library's mission. Over the years, the ball raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the library's collection.

The law school community extends its sympathy to Mrs. Berkson's many dear friends.