UAlbany Center for Jewish Studies
By Yoel Hirschfeld (October
was awarded the Medallion of the University,
the University at Albany's highest honor.
The University at Albany awarded philanthropist
Michael Steinhardt the Medallion of the University,
the institution’s highest honor, at the 2004
Center for Jewish Studies celebration on September
22 at The Riverview in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
The award recognizes Steinhardt’s distinguished
leadership in the Jewish community, extraordinary
commitment to perpetuating Jewish life, and
innovative approaches to education.
UAlbany Interim President John R. Ryan presented
the medallion to Steinhardt.
“Honoring Michael Steinhardt marks an important
moment in the development of the Center for
Jewish Studies at the University at Albany,”
Ryan said. “His interests and passions bridge
the worlds of the private sector and the study
and promotion of Jewish life and culture. We’re
pleased to welcome him to the celebration and
to our University community.”
“This is a great opportunity to celebrate one
of the most spectacular Jewish leaders of our
day,” said Center for Jewish Studies Director
Mark A. Raider. “Mr. Steinhardt continues the
tradition of philanthropic leadership that has
been a hallmark of American Jewish life since
Jews first set foot on America’s shores 350
“I am delighted to show my support for the
Center for Jewish Studies at UAlbany,” said
Steinhardt. “As the only initiative of its kind
in New York public higher education, the center
plugs a significant gap in Jewish studies at
the college level. I applaud UAlbany’s leadership
and efforts to make this first-rate Jewish studies
program available to all New Yorkers.”
Steinhardt was joined by Israel Singer, chairman
of the World Jewish Congress and chair of the
event’s honorary committee.
A celebrated money manager turned philanthropist,
Steinhardt is dedicated to creating a renaissance
in American Jewish life. After graduating from
the Wharton School of Business in 1960, he began
his financial career as a research associate
and securities analyst. In 1967 he formed the
highly successful hedge fund company Steinhardt
Partners L.P. In 1995, he stunned the financial
world by announcing that he would close the
fund to devote his time and fortune to causes
of the Jewish world.
Today Steinhardt coordinates his philanthropic
activities through numerous initiatives, including
the Jewish Life Network; the Partnership for
Excellence in Jewish Education; Makor, a social
and cultural center on New York City’s Upper
West Side; Synagogue Transformation and Renewal
(STAR); and Birthright Israel.
Steinhardt also supports Hillel, the Foundation
for Jewish Campus Life, through which he created
the Steinhardt Jewish Campus Services Corps,
the world’s only paid fellowship program for
young Jews dedicated to one year of service
in the Jewish campus community.
Steinhardt is one of the principal investors
behind The New York Sun,
New York’s newest daily newspaper.
In 2001, Steinhardt published his memoirs,
No Bull: My Life In and
Out of the Markets (John Wiley &
The Center for Jewish Studies has raised more
than $1 million in private sector pledges and
gifts toward its endowment and the establishment
of a new professorship in European Jewish Studies,
with expertise in the Holocaust.