"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

--Frank H.T. Rhodes, Cornell University Commencement, May 28, 1995

Monday, April 14, 2014

59. David H. Quigley

Brookeville, Maryland · Agriculture and
Life Sciences


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
My wife, Angela ('96), and I spend our days trying to keep up with our two kids, Hannah (9) and Elliot (3). We live in a small town in Maryland about halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and fortunately well within within striking distance of Hershey Park. I am a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where I have practiced environmental law since 1998. My practice covers an array of environmental matters, including transactional, enforcement litigation, regulatory compliance, lobbying and legislative development, so it is never boring.

What extracurricular activity or hobby from your time at Cornell was the most meaningful?

The speech and debate team gave me my life, quite literally. I met my wife there. The skill set I picked up there got me into law school and helped build a career. The people who came before (and some after) have become mentors and sounding boards and probably once a month I turn to that network for advice or assistance. Most importantly, I am fortunate to have so many friends (and family) that I owe to that team. I enjoyed so much about my experience at Cornell, but nothing has had the lasting impact that team has had.

What was your favorite class at Cornell, or the one you found the most useful?

Certainly the one I found most useful is Intro to Public Speaking (Comm 101), though not just because my career relies on that particular skill set to a great extent. Through that class, I got involved with the speech and debate team, which is where I met my wife. If you can find a class that prepares you for your career AND your marriage, I would say that is pretty useful. I suppose it should also make it my favorite, as well.

What random or surprising encounters with Cornell or Cornellians have you experienced since you left?
At a point when my wife and I had started to fall out of contact, we got a visit from Sharon Detzer of the Ag School's alumni affairs/development office. Meeting Sharon really reconnected us with the community, and she has facilitated my being on a panel at an entrepreneurship event, guest lecturing at a Dyson School environmental class, and getting to work with graduating students on career path questions through the development office. It has been amazing to reconnect in that meaningful way, and I love the opportunity to give back to the school that has given me so much.

What is your favorite memory of your time at Cornell?

I lived at 509 Wyckoff with 11 of my closest friends sophomore year. That year had a number of ups and downs, but that house and the camraderie that lived within it was a big up, despite the fact that you could look through the holes in the walls in some of the rooms, and we had to share the house with a raccoon who lived in our oven, the weather (the walls did not always reach the ceilings), and a mole-man who lived in our basement.