Abraham A. Ribicoff

Abraham A. Ribicoff

This scholarship was given by the Suisman Foundation in honor of Abraham Ribicoff, a representative and a senator from Connecticut. Abraham’s parents instilled in him the value of education and insisted all his earnings from part-time jobs go toward his future schooling. He attended the University of Chicago and received an LL.B. cum laude in 1933 before being admitted to the Connecticut Bar the same year. He established his own law firm and then became interested in politics, serving in the Connecticut State Legislature from 1938 to 1942. From 1941 until 1943 and again from 1945 to 1947, he was a judge in the Hartford Police Court. He was elected as a Democrat to the 81st and 82nd Congresses serving from 1949 until 1953. During that time, he served on the Foreign Affairs Committee, a position usually reserved for members with more seniority.

He was the governor of Connecticut from 1955 to 1961. As a longtime friend of John F. Kennedy, Ribicoff was given his choice of cabinet posts when Kennedy became president; he chose to be Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1962 and served from 1963 to 1981. As a senator, he was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Government Operations (94th and 95th Congresses) and its successor committee, the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs (95th and 96th Congresses).

In 1981, he retired from the Senate and took a position as special counsel in the New York Law firm of Kaye Scholer LLP. He died in 1998 at age 87.