Leonard S. Halpert ’44

Leonard S. Halpert, a retired attorney and executive who endowed the Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression at Wesleyan, died Oct. 5, 2017. He was 94. A member of the John Wesley Club, he left the university after his junior year to join the U.S. Army Air Forces and then received his degree in physics with honors in 1946. In 1948 he received a law degree from Columbia University. From 1957 to 1988 he worked for the Cocoline Chocolate Company, becoming the company’s president in 1961. After the company conveyed its right to use the name to the Dan Bell Chocolate Company, he continued as president and CEO. In 1982, he was named the company’s vice chairman, a position he held until his retirement in 1988. During the 1960s he became actively involved with the French winery Domaine Gerin and started a wine importing business, which he sold in 2006. An active alumnus, he endowed the Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression. Offered annually, it brings to the Wesleyan campus distinguished public figures and scholars with experience and expertise in matters related to the First Amendment and freedom of expression. He was also an active member of several neighborhood organizations in the downtown Boston area. Survivors include his wife, Selma Rutenberg, M.D., and his daughter, Margaret Dara Halpert.