Ira J. Waldman ’73
An ardent supporter of Bates, and many other things to many other people
Ira J. Waldman graduated from Bates in 1973 with a B.A. in Government, several trips to the Dean’s List, and a 4.0 GPA during the football season of his junior year. While at Bates, Ira played four years of varsity football; as a senior, he co-captained the team that toppled Division II American International College, and he received the Alan C. Goddard Award for his achievements and leadership.
Following his graduation from Bates, Ira attended the University of Maine School of Law, from which he graduated Cum Laude in 1976. Ira’s first job out of law school was as Investment Counsel with Union Mutual Life Insurance, now UNUM, in Portland, working under General Counsel Jim Keenan, a Bates alumnus who also played football at Bates under Bob Hatch. While at Union Mutual, Ira was appointed by Governor James B. Longley to the Maine Athletic Commission. While on the Athletic Commission, Ira rewrote the Maine Professional Boxing Rules, which at the time were among the first professional boxing rules to focus on the protection of the boxer. He also made many friendships with professional athletes, playing cribbage with Andre the Giant and swapping stories with Chief Jay Strongbow, two Professional Wrestling Hall of Famers. With his lifelong commitment to youth and athletics, Ira also served on the Board of Greater Portland Big Brothers-Big Sisters, and coached football at Cheverus High School.
In December 1980, Ira left Portland for Los Angeles, to begin his private practice in real estate development and finance with Cox, Castle & Nicholson, one of the nation’s largest real estate and construction law firms, and he was elected a partner within three years. Over three decades, Ira has worn many hats for the American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, most recently as a member of its governing Council and its Community Outreach Committee and its Property Preservation Task Force, working to protect family farms and other heirs’ property. In 1996, Ira was elected to the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, for which he chaired two committees and now serves on the College’s Board of Governors. In each year since 2006, Ira has been named as one of the 12 most highly-regarded real estate lawyers in the world by the International Who’s Who of Real Estate Lawyers.
To call Ira an ardent, ever-loyal and generous supporter of Bates and its teams does not quite do him justice. Ira has served as a class agent, Reunion gift committee member, career adviser, host of innumerable off-campus interviews and Bates gatherings, frequent event speaker, and member of the Garcelon Field Project committee. In 2010, he was elected to the Alumni Council and given the Bates’ Best Award for Athletic Recognition – he has leapt into every form of service that Bates even hinted it needed from him.
Ira is most proud of the fact that his daughter Shayna ’08 and son Ethan ’11 decided to attend Bates and pursue academic and athletic careers: Shayna as a two-year member of the varsity softball team under Gwen Lexow, and Ethan as a three-year member of the track and field team under Al Fereshetian and Joe Woodhead, earning All-American honors in the shot put in March. Ira met his wife Laurie, originally from Searsport, Maine, while both were at Union Mutual. Ira and Laurie are by any definition in the very top tier of proud Bates parents, and it seems likely that they hold the College’s record for the highest number of cross-country flights to attend Bates events.
For 40 years of extraordinary service and loyalty to his College, we are honored to offer Ira Waldman membership in the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society.