Columbia University announced the establishment of the Mendelson Center for Undergraduate Business Initiatives, a joint program between 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. The Center will foster an ongoing business education program for select Columbia undergraduates.
“With this gift, the Mendelsons have made an enduring contribution to Columbia, creating a dedicated home for undergraduates interested in studying business,” said Columbia University 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 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 depends 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 James J. Valentini, Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education. “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, Dean of Columbia Business School and 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 University is a family tradition dating back to Samuel Mendelson, an immigrant from Lithuania who graduated from Columbia College in 1906. This gift was made by Mendelson family members Laurans A. CC’60, BUS’61 and Arlene H. Mendelson; Eric CC’87, BUS’89, P: CC’17, CC’19 and Kimberly Mendelson; Victor CC’89, P: CC’18, CC’20 and Lisa Mendelson.
“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.”
Larry Mendelson, chairman of the board of HEICO Corp., served as a Trustee of Columbia University from 1995 to 2001, as well as chairman of the Trustees’ Audit Committee. He served on the Columbia College Board of Visitors from 1984 to 1989. Victor and Eric Mendelson, co-presidents of HEICO, currently serve on the Columbia College Board of Visitors, which Victor Mendelson chairs.
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.