News

July 21, 2009

Trustee Emeritus William Lanigan ’52 Dies

The retired lawyer funded several significant projects at Lafayette

William Wilson Lanigan ’52, an emeritus trustee whose generosity and volunteer service benefitted Lafayette in many ways, died July 14.

A veteran of the Korean War, Lanigan underwrote construction of Alumni Memorial Plaza, dedicated in 1989 in front of Oechsle Hall, and the new entry gates to Fisher Field. He served in the military from 1952-54 and received the Bronze Star.

Lanigan funded the restoration of the Tiffany stained-glass window in Skillman Library’s Simon Reading Room. A member of the library’s Archives Advisory Committee, he donated money for an exhibit from Lafayette’s Marquis de Lafayette collection and a guide to the permanent holdings. He also helped the College acquire one of the finest portraits of the Marquis de Lafayette, a painting by Thomas Sully.

In 1985, Lanigan made arrangements for the casting of the reproductions of the Aimes-Jules Dalou “Lafayette” statute to be given to those inducted into the Societe d’Honneur, whose ranks he joined in 1989 after being a sustaining member of the Marquis Society.

Lanigan was a trustee from 1975-94, serving as board secretary from 1982-1990, as vice chair of the Educational Policy Committee from 1976-1982, and as a member of the Athletics and Student Affairs Committee. Prior to his tenure on the board, he spent two years as an alumni associate member of the Educational Policy Committee. He was elected to emeritus trustee status in 1994.

He also served the College on the Maroon Club Executive Committee, as an alumni admissions representative, and as a member of the 1826 Society, a group of alumni in the legal profession advising students seeking to enter the field. He volunteered for his class as fund manager and reunion committee member.

The College presented him with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 1990.

As an undergraduate, Lanigan majored in history and English, sang tenor in The Graduates, competed in football and track & field, was a member of Knights of the Round Table and the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, and participated in The Marquis and Little Theatre.

He earned his LL.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1957. He was a practicing attorney for many years with offices in Manhattan, New Jersey, and Arizona before retiring from law practice in 2005. He served as mayor of Bridgewater Township, N.J., from 1960-63.

His survivors include Beth Lanigan Chapin ’80. Information on services is not available.

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