Triple ’Cane, longtime benefactor honored by Scouts

Judge A. Jay Cristol, A.B. ’58, J.D. ’59, Ph.D. ’97, was Miami-Dade County’s first Eagle Scout. Now, nearly eight decades later, he has been honored by the National Eagle Scout Association and Boy Scouts of America.
Triple ’Cane, longtime benefactor honored by Scouts

On February 28, 1944, A. Jay Cristol, then 14 years old, became the first Eagle Scout in what was then Dade County, Florida.

Now, 78 years later, and after distinguished careers in naval and civilian aviation and as an attorney and federal judge, he has been honored by the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) and the Boy Scouts of America as a NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout.

Established in 1911, the Eagle rank is the highest attainable in scouting. It is awarded only after the scout completes a lengthy series of requirements; a significant community service project that the scout plans, fundraises for, and executes with the help of volunteers; and a review process. Only about four percent of scouts earn the Eagle rank, and the list of Eagle Scouts includes highly accomplished individuals from all walks of life, from presidents to professional athletes.

Like many of his fellow Eagles, Judge Cristol has lived a life full of accomplishment. He served as a naval aviator in both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, eventually retiring from the U.S. Navy after 38 years of service. He received 13 medals, including the Meritorious Service Medal. After retiring from the Navy, Judge Cristol flew for a number of years as a pilot for Eastern Airlines and is a member of United Flying Octogenarians - still flying at the age of 92.

Judge Cristol's legal career began while he was still in the Navy, when he joined the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. As a civilian, he practiced civil law and served as Special Assistant Attorney General of Florida. In 1985, he was appointed to the federal bench, and is currently serving his third term as United States Bankruptcy Judge, with plans to retire in January 2023 after 37 years of service, including seven as Chief Judge. 

His connection to the University of Miami spans nearly seven decades, since his undergraduate days in the mid-1950s. He is an adjunct faculty member of the University's School of Law, teaching a seminar on reorganization in bankruptcy.

Judge Cristol and his late wife, Eleanor Cristol, B.B.A. ’60, were and are generous benefactors of the University and of Miami Law. Most significantly, Judge Cristol endowed the Eleanor R. Cristol and Judge A. Jay Cristol Pro Bono Legal Clinic, which provides free legal services to indigent people, and the Judge A. Jay Cristol Endowed Chair in Bankruptcy, both at Miami Law.

From an ambitious teenager with a commitment to scouting and a passion for airplanes to a decorated veteran and distinguished jurist and philanthropist, Judge Cristol has enjoyed, by any measure, a life well lived.