Evan R. Chesler Named Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The New York Public Library

Trustee Abby Milstein named Vice Chairman and Chair of The Board’s  Executive Committee

NOVEMBER 18, 2014 – The Board of Trustees of The New York Public Library announced that, effective today, renowned attorney Evan R. Chesler will succeed Neil L. Rudenstine as its next chairman.

Chesler, a Bronx native and chair of prominent law firm Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP, has been a member of the Library’s Board of Trustees since November 2009, most recently serving as both Vice Chairman and Executive Committee Chairman. His appointment was announced at today’s Board of Trustees meeting, held at the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

New NYPL Board of Trustees Chairman Evan R. Chesler

New Board of Trustees Chairman Evan R. Chesler

Chesler, 65, handles a variety of litigation for his firm, and is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a fellow of the New York Bar Foundation, and a member of the Council of the American Law Institute. He is also the President of the Dwight Opperman Institute of Judicial Administration, the oldest nonpartisan organization in the United States devoted to the education of the judiciary.

Trustee Abby Milstein, an attorney and founding partner of firm Constantine Cannon, was named Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Board’s Executive Committee. Milstein has held numerous key leadership positions in her 17-year tenure, and has been a longtime supporter and advocate. She co-chaired a New York State Commission on Library Services. She chairs the board of the New York Legal Assistance Group, and is co-chair of the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation, among other positions. She is a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School, where she serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board and on the University Visiting Committees to the Law School and the University Libraries. 

“It is my great honor to serve as chairman of this fine institution, which has shaped my life in so many important ways,” said Chesler. “As a latch-key kid growing up in the Bronx, I spent my childhood in my local New York Public Library branch. As an adult, the wealth of materials at the 42nd Street building helped me prepare for law school, a career that has served me well. I am so appreciative of the opportunity to give something back to the Library, which  continues to change the lives of countless people just like me every day.” 

Additionally, Chesler is an adjunct professor at New York University Law School and has taught at NYU’s College of Arts and Science. He is on the boards of both New York University and the New York University School of Law. He received his undergraduate and legal degrees from NYU, and holds a master’s degree in Russian area studies from Hunter College.

NYPL Board of Trustees Vice Chair and Chair of the Executive Committee Abby Milstein

NYPL Board of Trustees Vice Chair and Executive Committee Chair Abby Milstein

Chesler succeeds former Harvard University President and current Artstor Chairman Rudenstine, who has been a member of the Library’s Board of Trustees since 2001 and became chair in 2011. Rudenstine – who elected to step down after his tenure as interim Chair – was at the helm during an important period in the Library’s history.  

“It has been a privilege to help lead this superb institution, alongside Library President Tony Marx and the Library’s exceptionally dedicated Board of Trustees” said Rudenstine. The Library is now in an ideal position to move forward into a very successful future.”

“Evan, Neil and Abby are wonderful, passionate colleagues, who care deeply about the Library and its mission to provide knowledge, opportunity, and education to all people,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “It has been an honor to partner with Neil over the last few years. He has extraordinary judgment and integrity. I now look forward to working further with Evan and Abby to continue that great work.”

The Board of Trustees also added a new member to its ranks at its Nov. 18 meeting – Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito appointed longtime NYPL supporter Carey Maloney, a partner at Manhattan architecture and interior design firm M (Group), and board treasurer of the MAC AIDS Fund. Maloney joins Leigh Miller, appointed earlier this year by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, as key ex-officio members of the board.

Maloney has been active with the Library since 1984, when he began volunteering as an adult literacy teacher at the St. Agnes branch. He and his husband Hermes Mallea founded the Young Friends of The New York Public Library, launched and chaired the first Family Party at the Library in 2001 and, in 2008, created the LGBT Initiative at the Library. Since its inception, LGBT@NYPL has raised over $2.5 million and the department has mounted two major exhibitions (“1969: The Year of Gay Liberation” and “Why We Fight: Remembering AIDS Activism”), hosted countless programs (including the Anti Prom for teens), and processed the entire collection.

Contact: Angela Montefinise | angelamontefinise@nypl.org

About The New York Public Library

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