Press Release: Center for Jewish Studies Receives $1.5 Million Endowment

The trustees of the Skirball Foundation made a generous grant of $1.5 million to establish an endowment fund in support of the Center for Jewish Studies at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. The endowment fund will be named The Jack H. Skirball Fund for the Center for Jewish Studies. Income from the endowment will be used to enhance the center's financial stability and to advance its efforts to recruit and retain a distinguished director. The directorship position will be named The Jack H. Skirball Directorship of the Center for Jewish Studies, in honor of the Skirball Foundation's founder.


Philanthropist Jack H. Skirball was a former rabbi who became a successful motion-picture distributor and Academy Award-winning film producer. In 1948, he and his brother William created the Skirball Foundation, which grew into a major philanthropic institution that provides support for education and other causes. Jack Skirball died in 1985, but his philanthropy lives on through the work of the Skirball Foundation.

Faculty and research associates at The Graduate Center's Center for Jewish Studies have a long history of doing significant research on topics related to the American Jewish community, the Holocaust, and the history of European and Sephardic Jewry. With an emphasis on the modern period in relation to American Jews and Israel, the center has sponsored numerous conferences and seminars, public programs, and teacher-training workshops.

Reflecting on the commitment of the Skirball Foundation to the Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Center President Frances Degen Horowitz said, "This gift of an endowment from the Skirball Foundation will enable us to strengthen the Center for Jewish Studies. It will enhance the center's ability to collaborate with other centers and institutes, and with various doctoral programs in co-sponsoring programs and in training and encouraging students to carry out research on topics important to understanding the American Jewish community and modern-day Israel."

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York. The only consortium of its kind in the nation, the school draws its faculty of more than 1,800 members mainly from the CUNY senior colleges.

Established in 1961, The Graduate Center has grown to an enrollment of about 3,900 students in 30 doctoral programs and six master's degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. According to the most recent National Research Council report, more than a third of The Graduate Center's rated Ph.D. programs rank among the nation's top 20 at public and private institutions. The Graduate Center also houses 28 research centers and institutes, administers the CUNY Baccalaureate Program, and offers a wide range of continuing education and cultural programs of interest to the general public.

Further information on The Graduate Center's programs and activities can be found on its website at: www.gc.cuny.edu.

Submitted on: FEB 1, 2005

Category: Center for Jewish Studies, Press Room