Michael B. Rothfeld ’69, ’71J, ’71 SIPA, ’71 Business received the 2010 Alexander Hamilton Medal on November 18 at the Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner, an annual black-tie event in Low Rotunda. The medal, the highest honor paid to a member of the College community, is awarded by the Columbia College Alumni Association to an alumnus/a or faculty member for distinguished service to the College and accomplishment in any field of endeavor.
Rothfeld, a 1970–71 International Fellow at SIPA, is a University trustee and a director of the Columbia Alumni Association. He is a former chair of the Columbia College Board of Visitors and also has served on the advisory board of the Journalism School’s Knight-Bagehot Program in business and financial journalism.
In a toast, Richard E. Witten ’75, vice chair of the University Board of Trustees, noted that Rothfeld and his family had received 10 degrees spanning four generations, making them “likely the single largest tuition-paying family in the University’s 256-year history.” He went on to praise Rothfeld’s service to the College, saying, “Much of the renaissance the College is enjoying now stems from the work Mike has done as chair of the Board of Visitors and an active member of the Board of Trustees. In a room of great Columbians, you are certainly among our very best.”
Among those who spoke in Rothfeld’s honor were President Lee C. Bollinger, Dean of the College Michele Moody-Adams, Trustees Chair Bill Campbell ’62, ’64 TC and Trustees Vice Chairs Mark E. Kingdon ’71 and Philip Milstein ’71. Bollinger said how much he valued Rothfeld’s support and advice and noted that often during difficult times, he would receive an e-mail of encouragement from Rothfeld that ended with “Do not respond,” indicative of Rothfeld’s consideration for the recipient. Bollinger concluded his presentation of the Hamilton Medal to Rothfeld by saying, “This time, you will respond!”
In his remarks, Rothfeld emphasized the central role Columbia has played in his life. “I can honestly say that I can trace all the good things that have happened to me in one way or another to my years at Columbia,” he declared. “Throughout my life there have been two constants, my family and Columbia, and the two have intersected many times in many wonderful ways.”
A theatrical producer and private equity investor, Rothfeld has been an associate editor of FORTUNE, assistant to the chairman and CEO of Time, Inc., an investment banking v.p. of Salomon Brothers, a managing director in the investment banking division of The First Boston Corp. and, through private corporations, a general partner of Bessemer Capital Partners and Bessemer Holdings He was a director of The Overhead Door Corp., Graphic Controls Corp. (non-executive chair) and Kelly Oil & Gas.
Rothfeld was a member in 1979 of the first cultural delegation from the United States to the People’s Republic of China. He received the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards and was nominated for a TONY for the revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. Rothfeld’s production company received the Lucille Lortel Award for the New York revival of Our Town. He also is a director of The Jed Foundation and a trustee of Second Stage theater.
Rothfeld is married to Ella M. Foshay ’71 GSAS, ’79 GSAS, who holds a Ph.D. in art history. They are the parents of Ella M. Foshay-Rothfeld ’06 and Augusta F. Foshay-Rothfeld ’08.
Alex Sachare ’71