The University recently announced the establishment of the Mendelson Center for Undergraduate Business Initiatives, a joint program of Columbia College and Columbia Business School. The center was established with a $10 million gift from the Mendelson family, whose relationship with Columbia spans four generations.
Through the Mendelson Center, Columbia undergraduates will be able to enroll in specially designed courses with business-school faculty that combine elements of business and liberal-arts education — for example, showing the roots of finance in the principles of economics, and the way marketing works upon psychology.
“With this gift, the Mendelsons have made an enduring contribution to Columbia, creating a dedicated home for undergraduates interested in studying business,” says President Lee C. Bollinger. “By bringing together Columbia College and our business school in this novel shared initiative, the Mendelson family’s generosity and commitment will benefit students for generations to come.”
The gift was made by Laurans “Larry” A. Mendelson ’60CC, ’61BUS and his wife Arlene; Eric Mendelson ’87CC, ’89BUS and his wife Kimberly; and Victor Mendelson ’89CC and his wife Lisa. Larry, the chairman of the board of the aerospace and electronics company HEICO Corporation, was a University Trustee from 1995 to 2001; his sons, Eric and Victor, co-presidents of HEICO, currently serve on the Columbia College Board of Visitors.
For the Mendelsons, attending Columbia is a family tradition dating back to Samuel Mendelson, an immigrant from Lithuania who graduated from the College in 1906. The family’s prior philanthropy at Columbia includes the establishment of the Samuel and Blanche Mendelson Memorial Scholarship Fund and the endowment of two professorships: the Mendelson Professorship in Economics and the Mendelson Family Professorship in American Studies.
“My time at Columbia College and Columbia Business School was transformative,” says Larry Mendelson. “There is nothing better than participating in intellectual exploration while gaining practical ability in business. I hope the Mendelson Center will provide Columbia undergraduates with opportunities like the ones I had.”