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Major Gifts Boost Campaign Success

November 22, 2011 | News, Philanthropy at CUNY

A number of major gifts to the colleges over the past year have helped CUNY pass the $2 billion mark toward the University’s $3 billion Campaign goal.  These vital contributions are seeding new initiatives, supporting students and faculty, and enabling new development across the University.  To celebrate these successes as the Campaign moves into its final leg, the Invest in CUNY Campaign will highlight a few outstanding gifts in each newsletter.

Brooklyn College alumnus and Foundation trustee, Murray Koppelman (’57) donated $2.5 million to purchase a 24,000-square-foot property adjacent to the college campus.  The college hopes to develop the land and an adjacent parking lot as a future school of business for the college.  Mr. Koppelman, who also helped negotiate the land deal, told the Wall Street Journal, “I came from being on home relief to becoming president of a firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange.  I’m paying back now for future generations to benefit and have the opportunity I did.”

Another major gift to Brooklyn College was made by Barry Feirstein (’74) who donated $5 million to create a Graduate School of Cinema at Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn College Navy Yard.  The school, scheduled to open in 2013, will be the first public graduate school of film in New York.  Describing his gift as an investment, Mr. Feirstein, a former hedge fund manager who chairs the Brooklyn College Foundation Board, told the Wall Street Journal last winter that “We are going to create something that will have major impact on the film industry, Brooklyn College and New York City.”

In honor of a gift of $3 million from alumnus Allen G. Aaronson (’48), Baruch College has named the Allen G. Aaronson Department of Marketing and International Business at the Zicklin School. Mr. Aaronson made the gift after returning to Baruch to celebrate his 60th reunion. His gift will support department activities including faculty recruitment, retention and research, curriculum development, and provide enhanced training and education for students.  In expressing gratitude to Baruch for his college experience and education, he said he wished to transform the student experience of those enrolled in the department’s programs with his gift.

Hunter College received a generous donation from the Caravan Institute: the Parliamo Italiano Language School, including the assets of the school, and its townhouse located at 132 East 65th St. Hunter President Jennifer J. Raab heralded the gift, valued at $10 million, as an opportunity to expand for-credit and continuing education Italian language classes as well as to link Italian language education to other language and lecture programs. 

Baruch College has established a new chair in Latin American Studies in honor of the grandfather of longtime friend of Baruch and adjunct professor Hedwig (Hedy) Feit, who teaches in the Department of Black and Hispanic Studies and who donated $3.2 million in his honor.  The new chair, Dr. Ana Yolanda Ramos-Zayas, will take an active role in expanding the Department of Black and Hispanic Studies and the Latin American Studies program.  A dedication of the Valentin Lizana y Parrague Chair in Latin American Studies was held on October 11, 2011.

City College received a $1 million gift from Toni and Martin Sosnoff to create the Martin and Toni Sosnoff President’s Fund for Excellence in the Arts.  This fund will enable the president to sponsor a diverse array of artistic events, activities, and endeavors on campus including literary programs highlighting prominent writers, concerts and musical performances, and new theater productions written, directed and acted by CCNY students.  The college is also proud to announce the creation of a $1 million fund to support study abroad programs, student preparation for national and international fellowships, and student participation in conferences and cultural events.  The fund will be named the Herbert and Ruth Aschkenasy Opportunity Fund at the City College Honors Center.

CUNY TV received a $4 million bequest from radio pioneer and Brooklyn College alumni Himan Brown, who passed away in June 2010. Brown was an American producer of radio programs and member of the Radio Hall of Fame. He worked with such actors as Helen Hayes, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra and Orson Welles while creating more than 30,000 thousand radio programs over 65 years.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Queensborough Community College a $500,000 Challenge Grant to support endowed scholarly activities at The Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives (KHRCA).  QCC is one of only six community colleges in the country to receive this prestigious award.  The College’s fundraising goal is to add $1 million to the KHRCA endowment.  For further information about this grant, click on the following link http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2011 /08/11/queens/qns_qcc_grant_20110811.txt