Alfred University News

Alfred University alumnus David Chesnoff ’76 receives Scopus Award for humanitarian service

Alfred University alumnus David Z. Chesnoff ’76, a nationally renowned attorney and philanthropist, was recently honored with the Las Vegas Scopus Award. Presented by the American Friends of Hebrew University (AFHU), the Scopus Award recognizes individuals for their dedication to humanitarian concerns, as reflected in their achievement, leadership, and philanthropic engagement.

Chesnoff, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Alfred University in 1976 and went on to earn his law degree from Suffolk University in 1979, received the Scopus Award during a ceremony held Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Encore at Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.

“David has strengthened the connection between Las Vegas and the Hebrew University,” Patricia Glaser, AFHU Western Region Board vice chair, said at the award ceremony. “He is deserving of this award for his dedication to Israel, his service to the community, and his support of University initiatives.”

American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU) is a national, not-for-profit organization headquartered in New York City which works in close partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel's premier academic and research institution. AFHU provides supporters, Hebrew University alumni, and the public with stimulating programs and events and organizes missions to Israel. The organization’s activities support scholarly and scientific achievement at Hebrew University by creating scholarships, funding new facilities, and assisting the University’s efforts to recruit outstanding new faculty.

“We are immensely proud to count David Chesnoff as an alumnus of Alfred University. His passion and accomplishments on behalf of his community, championing underdogs, and promoting the values of a democratic society are exceptional and commendable,” Mark Zupan, Alfred University president, commented. “In his remarks at the recent Scopus Award ceremony in Las Vegas, David eloquently draws on a passage from the Old Testament’s Book of Exodus regarding the importance of bringing light when there is darkness so that we can see and better understand our fellow human beings. He exemplifies Alfred University’s motto, based on the third verse of Genesis, of ‘Fiat Lux!’ or ‘Let there be light!’”


Hebrew University President Professor Asher Cohen and Professor Tomer Broude, dean of the faculty of law, paid tribute to Chesnoff at an exclusive event meet and greet for VIP guests. Alex Yemenidjian, Chairman of Armenco Capital, LLC, presented the Scopus Award to Chesnoff. Among the local government dignitaries were Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, and Clark County (Nevada) District Attorney Steve Wolfson.

“I think David deserves this award for the many, many ways he contributes,” Wolfson said in a tribute video. “A lot of people talk the talk, but David walks the walk. He's a great humanitarian, and his contributions have really made a difference.”

“We’re here tonight to recognize the work and dedication of my friend, Scopus Award recipient David Chesnoff,” Jacky Rosen, U.S. senator from Nevada, said in her video greeting. “Mazel Tov and congratulations, David. Your service to the Las Vegas community, support of Jewish philanthropy in Nevada and around the country as well as your commitment to Israel have made meaningful contributions to the lives of so many.”

“David deserves the Scopus Award because he exemplifies everything the award represents,” said Governor Lombardo. “David brings our community together through his volunteerism, benevolence, and leadership – there is no one more deserving of this award.”

“During these dark and challenging times for Israel, American Friends of the Hebrew University is pleased to pay tribute to David,” said AFHU Chief Executive Officer Joshua Rednik. “He has given so much to Israel and has been a leader in the Nevada Jewish Community. His recent visit to Israel to serve as a hospital volunteer is just one example of his commitment and of why he is so deserving of this accolade.”

Chesnoff is leading criminal defense attorney and a partner at Chesnoff & Schonfeld which has earned a national reputation for its legal expertise and is listed as one of the country's top criminal law firms in several directories, including "The Best Lawyers in America," and "The National Directory of Criminal Lawyers." While Chesnoff counts Hollywood celebrities and well-known public figures among his clients—including Martha Stewart, Bruno Mars, Mike Tyson, and Brittany Spears—he is deeply committed to helping the underdog prevail against a more powerful entity.

“My role is to see that the Constitution is followed and that every one of my defendants receives the best defense available,” Chesnoff said. “I am humbled to receive this award and that I am being recognized for having tried to be a good person.”

David Chesnoff Comments at Scopus Award Ceremony

“I feel honored to be named the 2024 recipient of the AFHU Scopus Award,” Chesnoff continued. “Israel needs us now more than ever and amidst these turbulent times, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem stands as a beacon of hope, offering students a world-class education and enabling economic and social mobility for young people from all walks of life.”

Previous Scopus Award recipients include Barbra Streisand, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Elie Wiesel, among others.