Derner Alumna Thea Spyer of Windsor v US Connection to Adelphi; attorney David Boies was a Hagedorn Lecture Series speaker.

Summary by Lori Duggan Gold, Vice President for Communications

Edith Windsor was on the shortlist for this year’s Time Magazine Person of the Year; she ended up number 3 on the notable list. Time Magazine published this video on their website telling the story of Ms. Windsor and her wife, Adelphi alum, Thea Spyer.

UPDATE. Today, June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States voted down (5 to 4) the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA.) This landmark decision for same-sex couples now means those married in their states can receive federal benefits such as Social Security, veterans’ benefits, health insurance and retirement savings.

The Washington Post writes, “What was the actual case about?

United States v. Windsor concerns Edith Windsor, who was widowed when her wife Thea Spyer [Adelphi University alum] died in 2009. Windsor and Spyer were married in 2007 in Canada after being partners for 40 years. Windsor was forced to pay $363,053 in estate tax on Spyer’s estate, which she argues she would not have to pay if she had been Spyer’s husband. Thus, she claims, the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents her from being considered Spyer’s spouse for the purposes of federal taxes, literally cost her $363,053.”

Also, in the same Supreme Court session, the justices dismissed the case on Proposition 8 in California allowing same-sex marriages to resume in that state. Arguing the case against the state of California was lawyer David Boies. Mr. Boies was the first speaker to appear in our ongoing Hagedorn Lecture Series “Corporate Social Responsibility” over ten years ago.

POSTED 3.29.13. As an avid NPR listener, I was once again moved by their powerful reporting as they shared the story of Edith Windsor and her case about to go before the Supreme Court.  I was inspired not only by her conviction to fight for what she believed in, but also by the way she spoke about her life as a professional woman and her profound respect for Thea Spyer.  When she mentioned that Thea was a NYC-based clinical psychologist, I thought wouldn’t it be something if Thea was a Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies alumna.  But as life got in the way, I forgot to investigate the connection.  Then yesterday, as the case of Windsor v the United States went before the Court, a colleague informed me that he learned through the grapevine that Thea Spyer was an indeed 1963 Ph.D. graduate of Derner.  Once again, an Adelphi connection brought me to the sideline of history.

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