Thanks to the endowments established by a $4 million gift, Columbia University Libraries are purchasing additional print and electronic materials relevant to Jewish Studies and supporting and expanding its collections of historic Judaica. The gift also provided an endowment for the University’s first dedicated librarian in Jewish Studies, a position since filled by Michelle Chesner. The new librarian works with faculty to further develop the general collection and assists students and scholars in their use of the Libraries’ extensive holdings — which already include some 1,500 Hebrew manuscripts, hundreds of Hebrew books from the 15th and 16th centuries, and thousands of Yiddish publications and Jewish scholarly works in Western and Slavic languages.
“Mr. Alexander’s gift is an investment in our students, our faculty, and in the many scholars whose learning and research will benefit from the outstanding collections and services at Columbia," said James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian.
Norman E. Alexander ’34CC, ’36LAW enjoyed a business career that spanned seven decades. When he died in 2006, he was executive chairman of Sequa Corporation, a $2 billion conglomerate that he led for nearly 50 years. A lifelong supporter of academic, Jewish and other philanthropic causes, Mr. Alexander was a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia Law School and of the board of Columbia/Barnard Hillel, where he established the Alexander Program Center for Jewish Life. In 1985, he received the University’s John Jay Award for outstanding service and in 2008, the Norman E. Alexander Scholarships were endowed at the Columbia Law School.
Published: June 2011