Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Cardozo, Antonio de Jesus, 1903-1984
Antonio de Jesus Cardozo (1903-1984), F1934, was the first student to enroll at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Born June 14, 1903, in the Cape Verde Islands, Cardozo spent his youth in Portugal before immigrating to the United States at age seventeen. After working as a cowhand on his uncle's California ranch, Cardozo decided to move east and expand his career possibilities. After finishing high school while working nights at a factory in Connecticut, Cardozo enrolled in Suffolk University, where he earned a degree in law in 1929. From there, Cardozo would reverse usual education procedure and enroll as a freshman at Harvard University. Cardozo graduated from Harvard in 1933, and after hearing about the Fletcher School during his senior year, enrolled as the first student in its first class.
Cardozo's association with Fletcher did not end after his 1934 graduation. In fact, Cardozo attended every commencement at Fletcher from 1934-1984, becoming known around campus as "Mr. Fletcher." Cardozo started a tradition by inviting members of the entering class at Fletcher to his Arlington home every year, and was the driving force behind the establishment of the Fletcher Alumni Association.
In 1961, Cardozo, who founded a law firm in Boston after his graduation, became the first Fletcher graduate to receive the Distinguished Service Award from Tufts. In 1968, he would become the first representative of Fletcher elected to the Tufts Board of Trustees.
Besides running his successful law practice, Cardozo was active in community affairs, working closely with the Cambridge Community Center and local Portuguese communities.
Cardozo died unexpectedly on December 9, 1984 at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Source: TC, VF