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UAlbany Center For Jewish Studies Honors Philanthropist Michael Steinhardt

Contact: Karl Luntta (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 17, 2004) -- The University at Albany will award philanthropist Michael Steinhardt the Medallion of the University, the institution's highest honor, at the 2004 Center for Jewish Studies celebration on Sept. 22 at The Riverview in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. 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 will present Steinhardt with the Medallion of the University in recognition of his distinguished leadership in the Jewish community, extraordinary commitment to perpetuating Jewish life and innovative approaches to education.

"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 years ago.”

"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, who will address the gathering, will be 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, which seeks to revitalize American Jewish life through projects that nurture Jewish identity; the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, which expands Jewish day school opportunities for children in North America; Makor, a social and cultural center on New York City’s Upper West Side; Synagogue Transformation and Renewal (STAR), a program to help North American synagogues meet the spiritual, educational and social needs of every member of the Jewish community; Birthright Israel, an initiative to ensure all young Jews a first-time living and learning experience in Israel; Spark: Partnership for Service, a national initiative dedicated to community service and volunteering as an important expression of Jewish identity; and the Jewish Early Childhood Education Partnership, to promote the importance of high quality Jewish childhood education. 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 of young Jews dedicated to one year of service in the Jewish campus community.

Steinhardt is also the principal supporter of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. Other recipients of his philanthropy include the University of Pennsylvania, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, and the Israel Museum. Steinhardt is a member of the new ownership group of Israel’s leading bank, Bank Hapoalim, and 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 & Sons).

UAlbany, home to 17,000 students, hosts the ninth largest concentration of Jewish students on any college campus in the country. The Center for Jewish Studies draws on an advisory board comprising Capital Region leaders as well as alumni and supporters from across the state. To date, the Center 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. The center is dedicated to establishing the University at Albany as a flagship of Jewish studies for public higher education in the Northeast and the nation.

Past honorees of the Center are Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., president of the World Jewish Congress; Itamar Rabinovich, president of Tel Aviv University and former ambassador from Israel to the United States; Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League; and President Aharon Barak of the Supreme Court of the State of Israel.

Reservations for the ceremony, which includes a 6 p.m. reception followed by dinner, are available to the community on a first come, first served basis. Complimentary bus transportation to and from the event will originate from the UAlbany campus. For reservations, schedules and more information contact Assistant Director Yoel Hirschfeld of the Center for Jewish Studies, (518) 591-8514.


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