A portrait of Judge Christopher F. Droney ’79, recently unveiled before a distinguished audience of his friends and associates, has been hung in the Reading Room of William F. Starr Hall.
After Droney retired in January 2020 as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, his former law clerks followed the custom of commissioning a painted portrait. It will hang in the Reading Room until he retires from practicing law, when it will be moved to the federal courthouse in Hartford.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Gifford, one of Droney’s first clerks, described him at the portrait unveiling in the Reading Room on April 24 as a caring and principled mentor. “He taught us that humility is not a weakness, but arrogance is,” she said. “He knew everyone’s name, not just the litigants and the attorneys but everyone who kept the courthouse running and kept the courthouse safe — whether it was custodians, marshals, the court security officers, the clerks, the librarians. He knew everybody.”
Droney served as the United States attorney for Connecticut and as a District Court judge before he was appointed in 2011 to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He also served as an arbitrator for the National Football League. He is now in private practice.
Among the speakers at the unveiling was former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who represented Connecticut from 1989 to 2013. “As I look back on my 24 years of service, I would say that some of the most positive impact I had on my state and country was in the quality of the nominees I was able to help to the federal bench,” Lieberman said, “and none more than the Honorable Chris Droney.”
“Judge Droney has advanced justice, protected the rule of law and positively impacted the communities in which he has served,” Dean Eboni S. Nelson said in her introductory remarks. “He has served as a mentor and inspiration to numerous people, including many in this room.”
“The people of Connecticut, the Second Circuit and all the United States have reason to be grateful to Judge Droney for his thoughtful stewardship of the Constitution and his dedication to the best values of American tradition,” UConn President Radenka Maric said.
Droney’s portrait, painted by Daniel Duffy of Westport, joins portraits of the law school’s founders, deans, benefactors and other distinguished alumni on the walls of the Reading Room.