Alumni Profile - Perry Weitz
It is hard to measure the impact of a single class or a single professor on one's life or professional pursuits. What we know is that in 1977, freshman Perry Weitz took Politics & Government in Hillyer College. Filling the media that same fall were stories about the toxic contamination at Love Canal in Upstate New York. His anger and outrage at cancer contracted by innocent people by a chemical company led Weitz to pursue a career in law. Nine years, and three degrees later, Weitz and colleague Arthur Luxenberg opened their own law firm. Since 1986 the firm of Weitz & Luxenberg has served people in need in communities large and small from coast to coast.
When New York's legislature revised its statue of limitation on asbestos litigation from the last date of exposure to the date of the victim's discovery Weitz took up the challenge of representing these individuals against the manufacturing companies. Colleagues told him that there was no money to be gained, but he pursued justice for these people nonetheless.
"There is nothing greater in the world," he said, "than to help somebody who needs help and doesn't have the resources to help themselves." Weitz represented 36 workers from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, all contaminated with asbestos during the 1940's. Weitz won and since that time, he and his firm has served countless people afflicted with mesothelioma, DES, MTBEs, and PCBs.
In presenting Weitz the Distinguished Alumnus Award in May 2007, Dr. David H. Goldenberg, Dean of Hillyer College, said, "Your are the citizen that Thomas Jefferson always had in mind: passionate about freedom, skeptical of quick fixes, challenging to establishments, fiercely protective of the rights of others, and knowledgeable from a well grounded education."