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Lehman Capital Campaign

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Case for a Capital Campaign

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Our History and Tradition

Founded as an extension of Hunter College—and the first institution of public higher education in the Bronx—Lehman College has long been committed to democratic values, offering all who attend the finest of educational opportunities in its graduate, undergraduate, and professional programs. This commitment is grounded in the College’s history. The first campus buildings were erected during the Great Depression in 1931 by the New York State Works Progress Administration, creating a college in the Bronx that would provide an education to many who could least afford it. During WWII, the campus became a training center for women in the military. In 1946, it served as interim headquarters for the newly formed United Nations; efforts begun at that time culminated in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 1968 the campus separated from Hunter College, becoming an independent senior college within the City University of New York (CUNY), named for Herbert H. Lehman—New York Governor, U.S. Senator, and humanitarian—in recognition of his life-long commitment to human rights and public service. Throughout the next four decades, men and women, some of them new immigrants and many the first in their families to go to college, came to Lehman College to build richer lives and productive careers. Upholding the values of its namesake, Lehman has flourished as a cultural and economic anchor that continues to revitalize the borough of the Bronx.

Mission Statement

Lehman College serves the Bronx and surrounding region as an intellectual, economic, and cultural center. Lehman College provides undergraduate and graduate studies in the liberal arts and sciences and professional education within a dynamic research environment, while embracing diversity and actively engaging students in their academic, personal, and professional development.


On the Lehman campus, students speak over 60 languages; they come from over 90 countries and from throughout the New York City region, seeking to realize their potential and transform their future.

Lehman’s supportive learning environment fosters the respect, integrity, creativity, and appreciation of diversity that encourage students to discover their talents, learn new skills, and pursue their dreams. Benefiting from the College’s geographical and financial accessibility, first-class faculty, and comprehensive academic and professional programs, Lehman students graduate ready to live, work, and thrive in the global community.

Academic Excellence

Lehman’s eminent faculty includes seven Distinguished Professors: Dr. Laird W. Bergad, Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies; Dr. Eugene Chudnovsky, physicist; Dr. Billy Collins, two-time United States Poet Laureate; Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano; Dr. Joseph Dauben, historian; Dr. Adam Koranyi, mathematician; and Dr. Victor Pan, computer scientist. The College offers baccalaureate and master’s degrees in the liberal arts, sciences, business, and education and houses numerous research programs, including the plant sciences sub-program of CUNY’s doctoral program in biology. Lehman’s programs in speech and hearing sciences, nursing, and social work are among the most sought-after in New York.

Lehman students stand out in the crowd. They are members of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, CUNY’s William E. Macaulay Honors College at Lehman, and the Lehman Scholars program. They have been recognized and rewarded for their talent with Jeannette K. Watson Fellowships, a Marshall Scholarship, the Fulbright-Hays Award, National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health fellowships, and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Lehman prepares capable, ambitious graduates who pursue doctoral and advanced professional degrees and establish successful careers in the fields of law, medicine, nursing, psychology, scientific research, finance, education, and the humanities.

Members of Lehman’s faculty are known internationally for their work in the arts and sciences, and their endeavors have had an impact in the community and across the globe. Faculty-led research projects include Dr. Edward Kennelly’s work with plant–based compounds for the treatment of cancer, women’s health issues, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Dr. Eleanore Wurtzel’s development of food crops with enhanced nutrients to combat a global health problem of vitamin A deficiency; Dr. Liesl Jones’s study of calcium’s role in the development of schizophrenia; and Dr. Craig Demmer’s outreach to families and children affected by AIDS in South Africa.

Lehman’s fine Humanities faculty includes Distinguished Professor of History Joseph Dauben, an international expert in the history of science and Chinese mathematics and a member of both the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, the oldest scientific academy in Europe. Professor of Comparative Literature Manfredi Piccolomini is a member of the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Playwright and critic William Hoffman’s play As Is earned him Writer’s Guild, Drama Desk, and Obie Awards, as well as Tony and Pulitzer nominations for best play. Members of Lehman’s humanities and social science faculty consistently receive National Endowment for the Humanities research fellowships.

Successful Alumni

Lehman alumni have a reputation for high achievement and excellence in their fields. Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg received his B.A. in mathematics from Lehman in 1972. Myrna Rivera (’73) founded one of the first Hispanic investment consulting firms in the nation. U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) received his B.A. from Lehman in 1969. Catherine Harnett (‘72), a member of Lehman’s first freshman class, was Senior Vice President of the Global Real Estate Group at Lehman Brothers. Carlos Ortiz (‘79) is Vice President & General Counsel at Goya Foods. Other notable alumni include Richard Rakowski, a leader in the field of venture capital, business development, and consulting; Dr. Lewis R. Gordon (‘84), the Laura H. Carnell University Professor of Philosophy at Temple University; and Bertrand Joseph (’85, ’91), Minister of Education, Sports, and Youth Affairs of Antigua and Barbuda. Lehman’s Honorary Degree and Presidential Medal recipients have included Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Rubén Blades, Willy Colón, Shirin Ebadi, Paule Marshall, Olara Otunnu, Hugh B. Price, Bill Richardson, and Jody Williams.

Why Your Investment in Lehman College Matters

With its rich academic and extracurricular programs, extensive array of arts and cultural offerings, dedication to its students’ intellectual and professional development, and engagement with its vibrant urban community, Lehman College demonstrates what public higher education at its best can achieve. A successful campaign will further distinguish Lehman as an institution of excellence, through which its students, its faculty, its alumni, and its community may continue to flourish.

Generating Excellence

The four cornerstones of Lehman College are our students, our faculty, our facilities, and our community. Guided by President Ricardo R. Fernández, the Campaign for Lehman College seeks to raise $50 million in private contributions by 2014. Through the generosity of alumni and friends, as well as foundation and corporate partners, the Campaign will promote the institution’s long-term vitality. A solid financial foundation is essential to the continued success of Lehman’s mission. The Campaign for Lehman College will generate support that ensures the quality and strength of our programs, our campus community, and our outreach programs in the Bronx.

Endowment and Scholarship Support for Students

Exceptional students come to Lehman College for its comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and professions.

  • Endowed Undergraduate Scholarships
    Undergraduate scholarships allow many more students to enroll in school full-time rather than struggle to support themselves while attending part-time; they are better able to focus on their studies, boost their academic success, and graduate within four years. Scholarships also provide for a variety of needs in addition to tuition costs, including books and computers. Funding for additional student scholarships will attract and help to retain promising students who would otherwise be unable to attend college.
  • Endowed Graduate Fellowships
    Graduate fellowships will draw greater numbers of students to Lehman’s flagship master’s programs and the Ph.D. sub-program in plant sciences, making the College competitive with other research institutions in the region.
  • Endowed Stipends for Internships and Mentoring
    Lehman is increasing opportunities for student mentoring and internships at local corporations and organizations to provide hands-on preparation for future careers. Because many Lehman students must work while in college, endowed funding for stipends will make it possible for Lehman interns to gain valuable professional experience without financial hardship.
Endowment and Research Support for Faculty
  • Endowed Department Chairs and Professorships
    Our students benefit from an eminent faculty, many of whom have built their careers at Lehman and helped to shape the College throughout its 45 years. The Campaign for Lehman College will support Endowed Department Chairs and Professorships that will attract additional outstanding scholars and researchers to the College. This support will also help Lehman attract adjunct professors who are experts in their fields.
  • Faculty Research
    Faculty research enhances an institution’s role in the advancement of knowledge. Support from the Campaign will enable Lehman to offer increased funding opportunities for its faculty, including sponsored research. By providing the time and resources necessary for initial research and project development, these awards will facilitate advanced investigation and scholarship, pave the way for major research grants, and encourage faculty achievement.
Support for Academic Programs and Equipment
  • Programs
    Support from the Campaign for Lehman College will enhance academic programs that introduce students to emerging fields in science, technology, human services, and the humanities and prepare them for the competitive environments of graduate school and the job market.
  • Equipment
    Advanced research instrumentation and information technologies, as well as new and renovated facilities, will draw talented students and faculty and promote the expansion of Lehman’s acclaimed graduate and undergraduate programs in speech and hearing, public health, the sciences, business, and nursing.
Support for Community Outreach

Lehman’s outreach programs assist local schools, organizations, and entrepreneurs, and make campus resources available to the community.

  • The Arts
    The Lehman Center for the Performing Arts (PAC), established in 1980, was the first professional theater in the Bronx. The PAC, the Lovinger Theater, Lehman Stages, and the Lehman College Art Gallery offer accessible, stimulating programs for the campus community, area residents, and school groups. Yearly, a diverse audience of approximately 400,000 experiences world-class exhibits and performances in visual arts, music, dance, and theater.
  • The Community
    Support for community outreach initiatives will help sustain enrichment programs, such as the Bronx Institute’s K-12 program for academic success and postsecondary education; enhance resources for local entrepreneurs at the Bronx Small Business Development Center; and provide additional access to the arts through programs at the Lehman College Art Gallery, the Performing Arts Center, the Lovinger Theater, Lehman Stages, and the CUNY Institute for Irish American Studies, based at Lehman. Lehman’s service-learning program will also be expanded, providing more opportunities for students to volunteer with organizations and communities across the region, the country, and abroad. Partnering with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, student volunteers have constructed homes in the Dominican Republic, and in Louisiana for victims of Hurricane Katrina; built schools in Tijuana, Mexico; and refurbished a recycling center in Costa Rica. These wonderful opportunities for engaged citizenship and public service promote the values that Herbert H. Lehman spent his lifetime advancing.

Looking Ahead

Like every great institution, Lehman College must be able to adapt, grow, and prepare for the future. In October of 2012, the College dedicated Phase I of its new $70 Science Hall, which is expected to establish the College as a major regional institution for scientific research and teaching. Plans for Phase II construction of the three-phase project are now underway. Science Hall offers state-of-the-art instrumentation and laboratories for teaching and research in the life, physical, and health sciences, and advances the Lehman-based CUNY flagship programs in plant sciences, urban and environmental sciences, structural and molecular biosciences, and neuroscience.

Our $16 million Multimedia Center is the new home of Lehman’s highly regarded programs in multimedia production, journalism, and communications. Students pursuing courses in audio and video production, digital imaging and computer modeling, electronic music, animation, graphic design, and interactive multimedia will benefit from the Center’s centralized resources, advanced technology, and expanded facilities. The College is also looking forward to a $3.2 million renovation and addition to the Performing Arts Center to improve universal access, which will better serve growing audiences.

To prepare students for promising careers in health care, technology, and business, Lehman is expanding many of its undergraduate and graduate programs. These include a recently established master’s program in public health, additional graduate programs in geographical information sciences, and enhanced bachelor’s and master’s programs in business administration.

A new School of Public Health, Human Services, and Nursing has been established, which will create new home for a wide range of existing degree programs in nursing and health sciences and foster innovative collaboration. The School will expand partnerships with area hospitals and regional health care organizations to provide more training opportunities for students and help improve health outcomes for Bronx residents.

Investing in the Future

Buildings are only part of what makes an institution great. A college is also distinguished by a stellar faculty, exceptional students, superior technological resources, and productive involvement with the surrounding community. As a public institution, Lehman College receives New York State funding that comprises approximately 30% of the College’s operating budget. Tuition, federal, and foundation support for research, as well as gifts from alumni and friends, make up the operational difference.

Yet, these funds cannot provide for many of the long-term resources essential to advancing the institution. Private giving through this campaign is needed to enhance and expand Lehman’s academic programs; establish endowed chairs and professorships; and upgrade facilities, instrumentation, and equipment. Most important, Lehman depends upon these private dollars to make scholarship support available for many students who otherwise could not afford tuition.

Why Give to Lehman?

Whether you attended Lehman or are a friend of the College, your gift makes you a partner in our mission to provide superior undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and professions within a dynamic learning environment. To ensure the future excellence of the institution, we must intensify efforts to attract gifted students and faculty; provide financial aid and scholarship support; enhance teaching and research facilities; prepare graduates for success in the professions and advanced study; and cultivate the next generation of college students.


You may make a gift online or by mail. To learn more about other ways to give, contact Fredrick Gilbert, Executive Director of the Lehman College Foundation, at (718) 960-8975 or by email.

  • Projected Goal for 2015:
    $50 Million
  • Total Philanthropic Support Raised through June 30, 2015 in cash and pledges: $66,198,282