He was called the patron saint of New York City’s Catholic schools, but Peter Flanigan’s contributions to education extend well beyond that. Born in 1923, he spent most of his 90 years in his beloved New York. An investment banker by trade, he served as a Navy carrier pilot during World War II and later as an economic adviser in the Nixon administration. Then for more than three decades he led the charge in America for school choice. In education, “as in all endeavors, freedom works, ” he noted. “In the schools that are most successful, the principal chooses to be there and he chooses the way in which the school is organized. He chooses the teachers, and the teachers choose him. Together, they choose a curriculum. And then students and parents choose the school. Everybody buys into that single educational enterprise.” In 1986 Flanigan came up with a way for community members to buy in as well, founding Student Sponsor Partners, an organization that pairs disadvantaged students with mentors who support their tuition at participating New York City Catholic schools and spend time with them individually. From 45 students sponsored the first year, the program has grown to support 1,400 today. Compared to their peers, SSP students are almost three times as likely to attend college, and many have returned to become sponsors themselves. He served on the boards of the John M. Olin Foundation and several schools and educational philanthropies. For SSP and other philanthropic initiatives he put into effect at countless charter, Catholic, and alternative schools, Peter Flanigan was awarded the first annual William E. Simon Prize for Social Entrepreneurship in 2001. Educational freedom had no greater champion.