Thomas J. Sheehy III Distinguished Alumni Award

Established in 2014 and named after the fifth headmaster of Canterbury School, the Thomas J. Sheehy III Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus/a of Canterbury School who through their professional, community, or public service, has brought distinction to themselves, credit to Canterbury School, and benefit to the communities they serve.


2023 — Desmond T. Barry, Jr. ’63

Desmond Barry ’63 is a retired Senior Partner of the national law firm Condon & Forsyth LLP, where he concentrated his practice in mass tort and complex aviation litigation on behalf of the firm’s foreign and domestic airline clients.

Des has been Lead Counsel for numerous major aircraft accident litigations in federal courts throughout the United States, most recently for American Airlines in the multi-billion-dollar property damage and business interruption litigation arising from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Federal District Judge overseeing that 16-year litigation appointed him Defense Liaison Counsel, which required him to synthesize and advise the court on the views of more than 30 corporate parties initially named as defendants in the 9/11 Litigation.

Des is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), faculty member of the IADC National Trial Academy, and Chair of the Aviation and Space Law Committee. He was previously IADC Corporate Counsel College Dean and a member of the IADC Foundation Board of Directors. He has also published and lectured extensively on aviation law and trial practice.

At Canterbury, Des served as a Sacristan and Head Proctor, was Publisher of Cantuarian, and played three varsity sports. While an undergraduate at Princeton, he entered the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class and successfully completed the 10-week course at Quantico, Virginia. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant upon graduation and returned to Quantico for more training before being deployed to Vietnam, where he served 13 months as an Infantry Platoon Commander and Staff Officer. During his service, Des was awarded several commendations, including the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with “V” Device, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

Upon completion of his military service, Des attended Fordham Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctor degree in 1973. He began his career with Condon & Forsyth LLP that same year as an Associate Attorney. He was named Managing Partner in 1982 and served in that capacity for more than 35 years.

Des was elected to Canterbury’s Board of Trustees in 1980 and served for several years as the youngest Trustee in the School’s history. He considers that appointment his highest honor. He was also a member of the Fordham Law School Advisory Committee. Des and Pat, his wife of 52 years, reside in Vero Beach, Florida, where they enjoy the sunshine, golf, Bridge, and occasional visits from their two children and six grandchildren.

Past Recipients