The University of Dallas Board of Trustees has added another alumna to its ranks: Mary Devlin Capizzi, BA ’88 MBA ’89, a partner at Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP, a national, full-service law firm founded in Philadelphia in 1849.
Capizzi started as a corporate transactional lawyer in the firm’s Chicago office, but had to pivot after her husband’s work required a move to Washington, D.C.
“I fell into a D.C. practice that suits me well — while I occasionally use my corporate legal background, most of my work during the past 20-plus years has involved the representation of special purpose consortia comprised of industry competitors collaborating to address common concerns,” said Capizzi.
These consortia address complex challenges such as global data privacy and security, precompetitive data-sharing initiatives, standards development, international treaties, global regulatory challenges, development of joint technologies, and pharmaceutical product quality.
Living and working in Washington, D.C., is far from what Capizzi envisioned when she came to UD as a freshman.
“I was neither mature nor a deep thinker when I arrived at UD. I had little interest in policy or politics. I had a Long Island accent, could snap gum and loved a good party, but couldn’t write well or think critically,” said Capizzi.
For Capizzi, the UD education was transformative. She particularly credits her professors for their patience and determination to teach her; her special thanks go to the late Professor Emeritus of English Raymond DiLorenzo, from whom she learned to write due to his attentive guidance in Lit Trads I and II, as well as Spanish instructor Hazel Cazorla and Professor Emerita of Spanish and History Alexandra Wilhelmsen, who were “exemplary teachers and role models. Both were also extraordinarily kind to me.”
“The professors who taught me at UD genuinely cared about giving students an excellent education,” said Capizzi.
Capizzi treasures her UD friendships, which, as UD friendships tend to do, have endured over the decades, and also the opportunities she was afforded to live and study abroad as a student: first, of course, as a spring Romer during her sophomore year, and subsequently in Madrid, Mexico and Paris.
Finally, Capizzi is grateful to UD for nurturing her Catholic faith.
“At UD I began to seek out regular silence and prayer,” she said. “When I return to UD’s campus, I always stop by the Church of the Incarnation. It holds a special place in my heart; I sought refuge there — a lot. I also spent my senior year researching and writing a thesis in Spanish on the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, an absolutely extraordinary woman who lived in 16th century Spain. Her ‘Bookmark,’ also known as ‘Nada Te Turbe,’ remains one of my favorite prayers. It has almost all the wisdom I have needed in life.”
For all of these reasons, Capizzi has now joined 21 other alumni on the UD Board of Trustees. She looks forward to serving UD as a trustee, championing UD’s visibility as an exceptional university, and assisting UD students and graduates by facilitating connections that enable work opportunities at leading companies and organizations.
“I will first need to listen and learn; there is a lot I don’t know about UD’s operations and its challenges and opportunities,” said Capizzi.
Capizzi and her husband, Joseph, have six children, one of whom, Margaret, just graduated in UD’s Class of 2019, and another of whom, Gabriella, will start at UD as a freshman this fall.
“Most of my time outside of work is family time,” said Capizzi. “Our house is always bustling with activity — family, friends, food and free entertainment.”
She enjoys watching her children play sports and listening to live jazz. One of her daughters plays college basketball; two of her daughters run competitively; and her son plays basketball and baseball. Two of her daughters sing jazz and one also plays jazz piano.
As for her professional life, the best part of Capizzi’s work (besides riding her Vespa to the office) is the exceptional people — both her firm colleagues and their clients.
“We have a strong team that does impactful work,” she said. “Our team has a great culture — we work hard and have high professional standards but we support and authentically care about each other, and also have a lot of fun. Many of us have worked together for 20 or more years. We are privileged to serve extraordinary clients and to have developed business relationships all over the world.”
“I have had the good fortune of knowing Mary for over 30 years,” said UD Board of Trustees Chair Richard Husseini, BS ’88. “She is one of the premier governmental regulatory lawyers in the country. She is deeply committed to Catholic higher education and to UD in particular. We are very excited to welcome Mary as a new trustee.”