International Law Conference Honors Alexander C. Cushing’s Military Service

May 5, 2021

On May 17-19, 2021, the Stockton Center for International Law at the U.S. Naval War College will host the 3rd Annual Alexander C. Cushing International Law Conference, this year focusing on the “Rule of Law in the Indo-Pacific Region and Beyond.” Funding for the conference was established by Naval War College Foundation Trustee and Board Secretary, Nancy Cushing Evans, in honor of her late husband, Alexander Cushing.

Alexander C. Cushing (back row, center) during his Naval service.

“I dedicated this conference to him because the experience he had in the Navy really changed his entire life,” Cushing Evans commented. Cushing earned his law degree from Harvard Law School and was practicing at the firm of Davis Polk when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred in 1941. He, like so many others, was motivated to sign up for military service after the attack. His tour of duty involved logistics planning and dispute resolution, at one point facilitating the passage of a special act of Congress to break a logistical logjam. The level of responsibility he was given at such a young age and his exposure to the world during his service caused him to reconsider his career in law when he returned from the war.

Cushing’s penchant for organization and adventure led him to head west, where he established the ski area at Squaw Valley in 1949. Within six years of owning the resort, he was awarded the contract for the 1960 Winter Olympics. Multiple, seemingly insurmountable obstacles — including avalanches and a fire at the site during the early years — didn’t dampen his perseverance or persistence. Cushing Evans credits the training that he received in the Navy for cultivating those qualities. Cushing remained Chairman of the ski resort until his death in 2006.

Cushing on the cover of Time magazine in 1959.

Cushing Evans hopes that the conference at the Stockton Center will honor his legacy by bringing attention and scholarship to issues of international legal concern, such as irregular warfare and Grey Zone activities. And funding the conference in the form of an endowment will allow it to continue to grow and mature for many years to come. “I like the Naval War College Foundation’s philosophy of establishing an endowment and generating income from the investment to fund an initiative like this,” she shared. “It’s a conservative course of action, which was very attractive to me.”

This year’s Alexander C. Cushing International Law Conference will be held virtually and is open to the general public. For more information and to register:



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