Henry L. King ’48, Trustee Emeritus, Helped Select University Presidents

Henry L. King ’48, a University trustee chair emeritus, Columbia College Alumni Association Board of Directors member emeritus and a member of the selection committees for University presidents George Rupp and Lee C. Bollinger, died on June 18, 2018, in New York City. He was 90.

King was a member of the University’s Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1995, serving two terms, and was its chair from 1992 to 1995, during which time he headed up the searches for Rupp and Bollinger. An accomplished attorney, King was presented a John Jay Award for distinguished professional achievement in 1992 and a University Medal in 1968, for 10-plus years of service to the University. He was a member of the CCAA Board of Directors from 1966 to 1968. As a student, King worked on Spectator and was a member of the Senior Society of Nacoms. He chaired the Columbia-Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council in the mid-2000s.

After high school in Brooklyn, King graduated with honors from the College, earned a degree from Yale Law School in 1951 and had a more than 60-year legal career at Davis Polk & Wardwell as a litigator, becoming a partner in 1961. His practice focused on antitrust and securities law. King successfully challenged New York City’s calculation of its female employees’ pensions, which had been based on their longer life expectancy and resulted in lower annual payments to women than men, and at his firm championed the promotion of women. Over time, King’s practice shifted to corporate board advisory work and complex arbitration. He was the firm’s managing partner for 12 years.

King was a member of Trinity Church Wall Street’s vestry. He later led the Trustees of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, shepherding its recovery from a fire, and led the development of a residential building on its Close. He also was president of the New York State Bar Association and remained involved with Yale. King was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American College of Trial Lawyers and the College of Commercial Arbitration, and served on the boards of the American Skin Association, Chapin School, Episcopal Charities, New York Academy of Medicine, Population Council, Citizens Committee for New York City, and Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

In NYC, and on Fishers Island, N.Y., where he was an active community member for 55 years, King belonged to several social clubs. His recreational interests included opera, travel, tennis, golf, skiing and fly-fishing. He was devoted to his family, and is survived by his wife, Margaret Gram King; children, Matthew LAW’91 and his wife, Elizabeth, Katherine Baccile and her husband, Peter, Andrew and his wife, Topsy, and Eleanor Stringfellow and her husband, Matthew; Margaret’s sons, Michael Sokolov and his wife, Ellen, and Joseph Sokolov; 15 grandchildren; three step-granddaughters; and a son-in-law, Dave Cantlay. King’s daughters Elizabeth Robertson and Patricia Cantlay predeceased him.

Memorial contributions maybe made to Columbia University, Yale Law School, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine or St. James Church.

– Lisa Palladino