Howard RC’69, CLAW’72 and Vicki DC’69


Brandon Sullivan

Before Howard Ross Cabot became a passionate defender of human rights, he was “a little guy who wore a letter sweater that hung around my ankles,” he says. That sweater—earned for playing football in Rutgers’ defunct 150 lb.-and-under league and now in a closet of the Phoenix, Arizona, home that he shares with his wife, Vicki Cabot—once supplied him with what he calls “a very high opinion of myself.”

Now, he has more substantial reasons to feel good about himself. Last fall, Howard RC’69, CLAW’72 and Vicki DC’69 pledged $50,000 to establish the Cabot Family Scholarship at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences. The scholarship, awarded to undergraduates majoring in religion, philosophy, or political science, will foster civic engagement and civil discourse, in keeping with values the couple have demonstrated in their 50-plus years together.

Howard is an attorney with Perkins Coie LLP, which has law offices in Phoenix and provides legal representation for big businesses. But he takes on pro bono work if, in his view, the cause is right. In 2009, he represented a detainee at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. The complicated morality that brought him to the case became an Esquire magazine article, “Stories My Father Told Me,” written by Tyler Cabot, one of the Cabots’ four children. Uncompromising values also inform Vicki’s work as a teacher and journalist. With strong ties to the local Jewish community, she is finishing a doctorate in religious studies at Arizona State University.

The Cabots see their scholarship as a chance to help mold the social conscience of future generations: “We’re in a world today that’s hungering for change,” Howard says. “We need change agents, and they must be agents who understand the need for change in a humane, value-based way.” The Cabots have faith that Rutgers is the place to find them.

— Tammy La Gorce