Columbia University

Giving Back Off Campus
"I was blown away when I was introduced to Greek life—everyone gives back to both the campus and New York communities."
Photo credit: Jill LeVine
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From removing invasive plant species from local parks to outreach for AIDS testing in the Bronx, volunteerism is central to Ryan Jensen’s Columbia experience.

Volunteerism is central to Ryan Jensen’s Columbia experience. The financial economics major from Vero Beach, Florida, has removed invasive plant species from local parks, done outreach for AIDS testing in the Bronx, and more—all facilitated by his fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi.

“Being with a group of guys and alumni who are great role models has helped me maintain balance and direction,” said Jensen ’15CC. He said he gives back, in part, because he benefits from the Samuel and Blanche Mendelson Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides financial aid specifically to undergraduate students from South Florida.

“As a scholarship recipient, I don’t take things for granted,” said Jensen, who also makes time for the Columbia University Rugby Football Club, Columbia Community Outreach in Harlem, internships in finance, a work-study job, and, of course, studying.

Meet The Donor: Larry A. Mendelson ’60CC, ’61BUS

Laurans “Larry” A. Mendelson ’60CC, ’61BUS has lived in South Florida since 1969 and is committed to bolstering representation from that region in the Columbia student body. He has connected College students with Florida alumni and given some summer jobs at his company, HEICO, an aerospace products manufacturer. He established the Samuel and Blanche Mendelson Memorial Scholarship Fund in his parents’ honor to provide financial assistance to undergraduates from South Florida.

 

“At Columbia, I learned to ask questions and to see all sides of an argument,” Mendelson said. “That kind of critical thinking is so important today—it’s one of the best things you can gain from a Columbia education.”

 

Mendelson has also given $1.5 million to establish the Laurans A. and Arlene H. Mendelson Professorship in Economics and, with his sons, Eric Mendelson ’87CC, ’89BUS and Victor Mendelson ’89CC, pledged $1.5 million to establish the Mendelson Family Professorship in American Studies.

 

 

Published: March 2014