William D. Walsh, Esq., FCRH ’51, PAR
Chairman, Sequoia Associates, LLC
Before he was an executive in an investment firm, before he was a federal prosecutor, before he was a law student, William Walsh was a devotee of the ancient world.
His love for ancient art ripened during his time at Fordham and continued for decades as he built his own collection of artifacts.
“If you are a classics major or minor, as I was, you can't get a feel for classics by translating chapters from Julius Caesar alone,” Walsh says.
His collection of ancient art now resides in a library that was named for him, on the same campus where he studied as an undergraduate decades ago.
Walsh credits his career success to the education he received at Fordham College at Rose Hill. After graduating in 1951, he earned a law degree from Harvard University and went to work as an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1955 to 1958.
He ran narcotics investigations in Manhattan that ultimately won the indictment of crime boss Vito Genovese, and later served as counsel to the New York State Commission of Investigation, where he targeted illegal gambling.
He later switched to the world of business, spending more than 35 years in the field of acquisitions, divestitures and public offerings. He is founder and chairman of Sequoia Associates LLC, an investment firm in Menlo Park, Calif., which has completed more than two dozen buyouts and acquisitions and made sizable investments in a dozen companies.
He was married for 57 years to Jane Walsh, who passed away in January 2008. He has six children and 11 grandchildren.
He has served on the boards of numerous companies and received honors from organizations including Harvard Law School, the government of Bolivia and the Knights of Malta. He received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Fordham in 2003.
His family has been generous to Fordham, contributing to the construction of the building that would become the William D. Walsh Family Library on the Rose Hill campus. The library houses the Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art, which holds the objects donated by the Walshes. The 260 artifacts are the largest gift of art in Fordham’s history.
The pieces were housed for decades at the Walsh home in Menlo Park before Walsh decided in recent years to give them to Fordham.
“I am proud that my Jesuit education has enabled me to give something back to Fordham and to the people of New York,” he says.