Jacob Burns (1902-1993)
Jacob Burns was a prominent New York attorney specializing in corporate law and estates and trusts. He was a philanthropist, a painter, and a corporate leader. He was a founder and, for several years, chairman of the board of U.S. Vitamin and Pharmaceutical Corp., a public company that merged with Revlon, Inc. in 1966. Mr. Burns was a member of the Revlon board of directors from 1966 to 1985.
At Yeshiva University, Mr. Burns served on the Board of Trustees and was a founding director of the Sy Syms School of Business. He was a member of the Cardozo Board of Directors from 1976 until his death in 1993 and was chairman from 1986 to 1992. In 1984, Yeshiva conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
In 1970, Mr. Burns received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from George Washington University, from which he had graduated in 1924. He was a member of the Order of the Coif for more than six decades. At George Washington, he was a trustee for many years and a member of the board of directors of the George Washington Law Association, which presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1975. He also received the Alumni Achievement Award in 1983 from the university's General Alumni Association.
In 1992 Mr. Burns founded the Jacob Burns Center for Ethics in the Practice of Law.
In the legal field, he was vice chairman of the Committee on Character and Fitness of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, first Judicial Department. For many years, he was a director of the New York County Lawyers' Association, which awarded him its Medal for Conspicuous Service. He was chairman of the Joint Coordinating Committee on Discipline of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and a member of the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association.
In addition to his involvement with Yeshiva and George Washington Universities, Mr. Burns was a philanthropic leader in a broad spectrum of institutions that promoted the advancement of learning and the arts, including the Metropolitan Opera Association, Thirteen -- WNET-TV, and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. The Jacob Burns Foundation, which he founded, continues his legacy.