The Mendelson family, whose association with Columbia spans four generations, is making a $10 million gift to establish the Mendelson Center for Undergraduate Business Initiatives. The joint program between Columbia College and the Business School was announced in November. The center will foster an ongoing business education program for select Columbia undergraduates.
The Mendelson Center makes permanent Columbia’s special concentration in business management, through which undergraduates enroll in specially designed courses with Business School faculty. These courses connect business skills with elements of Columbia’s liberal arts education — for example, how finance is connected to principles of economics and how marketing concepts depend on psychology.
“The Mendelson Center for Undergraduate Business Initiatives gives our students an unparalleled opportunity to combine the values and skills honed in our Core Curriculum and through our more than 100 liberal arts majors and concentrations, with the experience of studying with world-class faculty at Columbia Business School,” said Dean James J. Valentini. “Our students are very enthusiastic about creating, organizing, and managing enterprises, so we are grateful for this gift.”
“This extraordinary gift will have a lasting impact on business education at Columbia, bridging theory and practice and encouraging the exchange of ideas both within the University community and beyond,” said Glenn Hubbard, Business School dean, the Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and professor of economics. “The Mendelson family’s generosity will enhance the special concentration in business management’s existing activities and enable it to reach more students and even greater heights.”
For the Mendelsons, Columbia is a family tradition dating back to Samuel Mendelson (Class of 1906). This gift was made by Mendelson family members Arlene H. and Laurans A. “Larry” Mendelson ’60, BUS’61 and their daughters-in-law and sons, Kimberly and Eric Mendelson ’87, BUS’89, parents of Hayley ’17, David ’19 and Daniel; and Lisa and Victor Mendelson ’89, parents of Lindsey ’18, Nicole ’20 and Alexander.
“My time at Columbia College and Columbia Business School was transformative,” said Larry Mendelson. “I hope the Mendelson Center will provide Columbia undergraduates with opportunities like the ones I had. There is nothing better than participating in intellectual exploration while gaining practical ability in business, navigating easily between the realms of ideas and action.”
Mendelson, chairman of the board of HEICO Corp., was a University trustee from 1995 to 2001, as well as chairman of the Trustees’ Audit Committee. He was a member of the College’s Board of Visitors from 1984 to 1989. His sons, co-presidents of HEICO, are current BOV members; Victor is chair.
The family’s philanthropy at Columbia includes the establishment of the Samuel and Blanche Mendelson Memorial Scholarship Fund and the endowment the Mendelson Professorship in Economics and the Mendelson Family Professorship in American Studies.