Feinberg to Reflect on Administering Marathon, 9/11 Victim Funds at JFK Library

Campus Community, Alumni Invited to Attend
September 4, 2013

The campus community and alumni are invited to attend a talk on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg, legal arbitrator for the aftermath of some of the worst tragedies in recent American history including the One Fund Boston for marathon bombing victims. He will reflect on his career-changing experiences and be available for a Q & A session afterward as part of a special benefit for UMass Amherst Libraries and archives to be held at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a private tour of the Kennedy Library and museum, followed by hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and UMass Amherst “sustainability showcase” at 6 p.m., followed by Feinberg’s talk at 7. Feinberg will take questions from the audience following his talk. Cost is $50 per adult or $85 per couple, which includes a selection of local and sustainable foods, parking and museum admission. The tour includes the special exhibit, “To the Brink,” a look back at the Cuban Missile Crisis from the 50-year mark, including recordings of JFK’s White House meetings.

To purchase tickets, please preregister at http://bit.ly/feinberg2013

An international expert in complex mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, Feinberg has donated his papers and collection of classical music recordings to the campus libraries, which are in the midst of a $10 million fund-raising campaign within the $300 million UMass Rising campaign. He is best known as the special master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. His other recent cases include Virginia Tech’s Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, the BP Gulf Coast Claims Facility and, most recently, the One Fund Boston. 

Feinberg says his papers outline the “nuts and bolts” of how he designed and administered historically unprecedented victim compensation packages for those unique events. The documents touch on a series of public policy and public law disputes, he notes, adding, “I owe UMass so much for my American history degree and my background in scholarship.”

UMass Amherst Libraries’ Caroline White, curator of Feinberg’s collected papers, will be on hand to talk about the painstaking process of archiving such sensitive materials. 

Rob Cox of UMass Amherst Libraries special collections and university archives says Feinberg has been a key figure in American legal history who, “50 years from now, 100 years from now, people will still be interested in.” Feinberg’s music collection, selections of which will be played at the Sept. 11 Kennedy Library event, doubles the physical collection that can be made available to students and faculty. 

Feinberg, chair of the Kennedy Library’s foundation board, also is co-chair of the UMass Amherst Rising campaign and will be saluted for his generosity and philanthropy to the campus by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

A special mini-exhibit to showcase Feinberg’s work on environmental disasters like Love Canal and the gulf oil spill will be featured at next week’s event, along with the UMass Amherst Sustainability Showcase. For this, students, faculty and staff will be on hand to discuss library sustainability initiatives such as the Common Read, the Sustainable Science Program, e-recycling, Green Office program and the Sustainability Curriculum Initiative that offers more than 80 courses across many disciplines.