Patrick Leahy ’61
United States Senator Patrick Leahy is a 1961 graduate of Saint Michael’s College. In response to his remarkable career in the U.S. Senate, Saint Michael’s awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1976. Senator Leahy earned his Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1964.
At age 34, Patrick Leahy was the youngest U.S. Senator ever to be elected from Vermont. Having served with great distinction in the Senate for 39 years, Leahy is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as such will have a central role to play should President Obama have to name a new member to the United States Supreme Court. He ranks first in seniority in the Senate and is President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Patrick Leahy is a leader in the international campaign against the use of anti-personnel landmines, and in 1992 wrote the first law to ban the export of these weapons. He has teamed up with best-selling author and peace activist Loung Ung ’93 in this anti-landmine campaign.
A man of the times, Senator Leahy was one of the first members of Congress to go online and in 1995 was the second senator to post a homepage. His website consistently has been named one of the Senate’s best. He has been the Senate’s leading champion of open government and of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Senator has crusaded for the protection of privacy rights, copyright protections and freedom of speech on the Internet. He was a co-founder, and remains a co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus.
A committed environmentalist, Senator Leahy successfully opposed attempts to allow oil and gas exploration in wildlife refuges, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge in Vermont. He helped secure more than $70 million in federal funds to clean up Lake Champlain, and tried to get our lake named the 6th Great Lake. He has also been a consistent crusader working to protect Vermont’s family farms, helping save some 350 Vermont farms.
Patrick Leahy has been married to Marcelle Pomerleau Leahy (awarded a Saint Michael’s College honorary degree in 2009) since 1962. They have a daughter, two sons, and five grandchildren. The Leahys live on a tree farm in Middlesex, Vermont.