Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services
QUEENS COLLEGE ANNOUNCES FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN GOAL
OF $100 MILLION; NEARLY $70 MILLION HAS BEEN RAISED SO FAR
-- Lifelong Queens Resident and 1942 Grad Max Kupferberg Donates $10 Million --
FLUSHING, N.Y., March 30, 2006 – At a ceremony dedicating the new Selma and Max Kupferberg Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, Queens College President James Muyskens today announced the public phase of the college’s unprecedented fundraising campaign, “Leading the American Dream: The Campaign for Queens College.”
Describing the occasion as “one of the great days in Queens College history,” he said, “Our goal of $100 million is both ambitious and necessary if we are to offer tomorrow’s leaders the kind of life-changing education they deserve.”
Among the government, corporate, community and cultural leaders who gathered for the ceremony outside Colden Auditorium were Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and New York City Council member Jim Gennaro, who presented Mr. and Mrs. Kupferberg with a New York City Proclamation in their honor. New York State Regent Saul Cohen, former president of Queens College, and Regent Geraldine Chapey also attended.
Close to $70 million has been pledged or raised so far through the college’s annual fund outreach to alumni, major gifts, and corporate and foundation grants. Ten million dollars—the leading gift of the campaign and the single largest donation in the college’s history—was given recently by the Kupferbergs.
The funds will be used for arts programming at Queens College and for much-needed renovations to Colden Auditorium, Goldstein Theatre and LeFrak Concert Hall. The new Kupferberg Center for the Arts will encompass not only the former Colden Center, but also the Godwin-Ternbach Museum; Queens College Art Center; Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance; Department of Media Studies; Aaron Copland School of Music, and Louis Armstrong House Museum and Archives. “This is an important event for the borough of Queens,” said President Muyskens, “as over half a million visitors attend performances and exhibits in our art facilities every year.”
Max Kupferberg, who was among the 400 students present when Queens College first opened its doors in 1937, is the founder of Kepco, Inc., an electronics equipment manufacturer and mainstay of the Flushing business community since its founding in 1946. During the war, Kupferberg, a young physicist, and his late twin brother, Ken (class of 1941), were recruited to work at the top-secret Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. “I’m at the stage of my life where money should be given away, and I always have been interested in Queens College and what they’ve done for this community,” he said.
Funds raised from “Leading the American Dream” will be invested in the college’s many activities that benefit the community such as arts and cultural programs and the renowned Evening Readings series. Led by prominent scholars, the college’s many centers and institutes are dedicated to serving the needs of the borough’s diverse communities and solving social problems; they, too, will benefit from the fundraising campaign. Research and outreach are central to the mission of, among others, the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems (directed by Steven Markowitz, M.D., its staff includes world-famous environmental scientist Barry Commoner), the Asian/American Center, the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, and the Center for the Improvement of Education.
Primarily, “Leading the American Dream: The Campaign for Queens College” will provide student and faculty support. That will mean the awarding of more scholarships (donations have made more than 2,000 scholarships possible since 2001), an increase in faculty-mentored research opportunities, innovative new programs, educational enrichments such as the expansion of Study Abroad, and incentives to attract the strongest new faculty members.
Funds from the campaign will also finance a variety of capital projects on Queens College’s 77-acre campus. In addition to renovating its art venues and amphitheatre, the college plans a new Athletics Center and the installation of the technology and infrastructure that modern education demands. Examples include the latest “smart classrooms” and fully equipped science and media laboratories where faculty and students can work together on important research and creative projects.
“I still believe in the American dream, that a person of modest means can receive an excellent education, work hard, and rise to the top,” comments Michael Minikes, class of 1965, campaign co-chair and Senior Managing Director and Treasurer, The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. “Queens College makes this possible. It is a gateway to opportunity, especially for first-generation college students, so many of them immigrants. This is why the college’s Foundation enthusiastically supports The Campaign for Queens College. We know we can make a difference by helping a great college connect with leaders in business, the arts, and the community. For me, it is a wonderful way to pay the college back for all I received as a student.”
Other Campaign Successes So Far:
• Thanks to the donation of Mr. Arnold Franco (’43), Queens College will construct a plaza behind Jefferson Hall dedicated to alumni who served in World War II.
• Bernard and Ruth Madoff (’61) have contributed for major new campus signage soon to be installed at the college’s main entrances.
• The financial support and assistance of Mr. Len Schutzman (’67), former Senior Vice President and Treasurer of PepsiCo, have led to the establishment of The Center for Entrepreneurship, which will assist budding student entrepreneurs. The new Center will hold its first conference on Friday, April 7 on the Queens College campus.
• On May 14, Queens College will rename the Center for Preparatory Studies in Music the Lawrence Eisman Center for Preparatory Studies in Music at Queens College in appreciation of the professor’s generous contribution. The Center offers instruction to musicians aged 3-18 in the greater metropolitan area.
• The Louis Armstrong House Museum and Archives received a donation of the largest collection of Louis Armstrong memorabilia held by a private collector. Named the Jack Bradley Collection after its donor, its value is approximately $1 million.
Founded in 1937, Queens College offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and a variety of specialized honors programs. Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, the college enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. In fact, Queens College ranked #8 among 81 public and private colleges included in the 2006 Princeton Review America’s Best Value Colleges, a ranking reserved for colleges with outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages and relatively low costs. Queens College’s nearly 17,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak scores of languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment. Among freshmen, 44 percent were born outside the U.S. mainland. A majority of students work full- or part-time, and 44 percent of undergraduates are first-generation college students.