Two recent gift commitments will establish a directorship of rare books, special collections, and preservation at River Campus Libraries and a professorship in finance at the Simon School.
Both gifts support The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester, a Universitywide fundraising campaign that was launched in October 2011 and runs through June 30, 2016.
Joseph Lambert and Harold Schleifer have made a $1 million commitment to endow the directorship of rare books, special collections, and preservation for River Campus Libraries. The position plays a key role in the University’s efforts to preserve, digitize, and share historic collections.
“This is an amazing gift for which all of us at the University of Rochester are profoundly grateful,” says President Joel Seligman. “Joseph Lambert and Harold Schleifer possess a deep understanding of the evolving work of libraries. Through their professional and personal experiences, they recognize the critical role that libraries play in advancing and preserving knowledge. Their commitment will allow collections that were once the preserve of a handful of scholars to be widely available through the Internet.”
An ophthalmologist who received his bachelor’s degree at Rochester in 1959, Lambert is inspired by the sweeping changes that have occurred in libraries. “Regardless of change, rare books and unique materials, such as the collected papers of individuals, will always remain a vital window to the past,” he says. “With the advent of the web, archiving and sharing information digitally is the new world.”
Lambert and Schleifer have close ties to the world of libraries. Schleifer received a full scholarship to pursue his master’s studies in library science at Columbia University. He joined the library staffs at Brooklyn College, New York University, Herbert H. Lehman College, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook before becoming dean of the University Library at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona—a position he held for 28 years.
Like his partner of 27 years, Lambert also found employment in a favorite library. During his undergraduate years at Rochester, he worked in Rush Rhees Library.
Lambert and Schleifer chose to endow a directorship because they wanted to make an enduring contribution. “Buildings and books come and go, but good people will always be essential,” says Schleifer.
“As the University continues to grow, this directorship will support scholarship and students in perpetuity,” Lambert adds.
Jay and Jeanne Benet have made a $1.5 million gift commitment to establish the Jay S. and Jeanne P. Benet Professorship of Finance at the Simon School of Business.
Jay Benet ’76S (MBA) is vice chairman and CFO of The Travelers Companies Inc., where he oversees financial operations for the insurance industry giant.
“We are deeply grateful to Jay and Jeanne Benet for this investment in finance education at the Simon School,” says President Joel Seligman. “We are proud to be considered a global leader in finance education, and this gift will help us to build on that momentum.”
Benet, a longtime supporter of the Simon School, is a member of the Simon School National Council and Executive Advisory Committee and is a charter member of the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society.
“Jay Benet is a leader in the financial services industry, and his success is a testament to the value of a Simon School education,” says Mark Zupan, dean of the Simon School. “Thanks to his and Jeanne’s generosity, we will be able to attract a leading financial scholar to join our premier finance faculty to educate future leaders in the field.”
“This gift of a finance professorship for the Simon School is in recognition of the outstanding education I received while attending Simon—the analytic, fact-based problem-solving skills I learned from my professors that enabled me to successfully compete in business,” Benet says. “It also reflects my appreciation for Mark Zupan’s outstanding leadership as dean of the Simon School, which I see firsthand as a member of the Simon National Council and Executive Advisory Committee. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to support the school with this professorship.”