Evelyn Berezin (1925-2018) was a leading figure in computer technology and pioneered the development of the word processor and computerized booking systems. Once a scholarship recipient, her commitment remains loyal to NYU.
Her legacy conitnues through her support of the sciences. She is remembered through her generous contributions and establishment of the Evelyn Berezin and Israel Wilenitz Fund - which will provide tuition assistance to first generation students with financial need.
Learn more about her impact.
Photograph: Barton Silverman/New York Times
Abhishek Gupta (TANDON ‘14) is a proud Tandon alum who strongly believes in the future of education and the future of NYU. His first gift to NYU was right after graduation, in support of scholarships. A scholarship recipient himself, he gives back today because his NYU experience helped him understand the value of hard work, education, and leadership.
He is actively involved in the Young Alumni Leadership Circle (YALC), a community of recent graduates who’ve vowed to make a financial commitment to the University. As chair of YALC for 2 years, he is committed to enhancing student and alumni connections and creating a more unified NYU experience across schools.
“My philosophy on giving back is that no amount is a small amount. When I meet fellow alumni, I always urge that it doesn’t matter at what amount or what capacity.”
Julius Insler (HEIGHTS ‘71) graduated from NYU Heights after studying Electrical Engineering. From that day forward, his degree has served him well. As a holder of approximately 15 patents, including the first for laser printers, his NYU education enabled his current quest to perfect a system that would derive enough thermal energy from the ocean to power the entire planet.
On a recent visit to Rogers Hall at the Tandon campus, he was met with a familiar feeling—Tandon students that were driven and prepared to change the world. In fact, 40% of the incoming freshmen students at Tandon are the first in their families to attend college, and over a third are Pell Grant-eligible. “I saw the same passion, ideals and commitment in them—despite all the years separating us—and I knew I had to continue my support.”
Thanks to the generosity of others, he was the first in his family to graduate from college and has been giving back to NYU since then.
Florby Dorme (CAS ‘16) is a recent grad and has been a loyal donor since graduation. According to Florby, giving back to the University is an important way of paying it forward and playing a part in supporting a community that has fostered his growth.
“Understanding that I'm contributing to an institution that has defined my college experience (in such an amazing and positive way), and having the opportunity to pay it forward so that other people who look and think like me could have similar experiences inspires me to give back.”’
Florby studied at the College of Arts Science and received in B.A. in Philosophy, with a concentration in Pre-Health. His educational experience at NYU gave him the tools to act on his intellectual curiousity, think critically, and experiment with the challenges he faced as a student. His considers his academic experience as a rigorous one - a growth experience that led him to pursue public health research, where he could ask questions, and apply the methodology he gained through his academic courses.
During his sophomore year, Florby underwent a program called H.E.A.L.T.H (Health Educator and Awareness Leadership Training Honors Program) and gained exposure to the basics of public health research. This granted him the opportunity to pursue a Fulbright Scholarship.
Florby recently spent the past few months with the Wellbeing Foundation Africa as a Fulbright Scholar examining reproductive health concerns and challenges of internally displaced persons (IDP) in Abuja, Nigeria. His journey, experience, and success as a Fulbright scholar are due to his understanding of his own value and what he uniquely could bring to the table which his time at NYU helped him discover.
“The library is the heart and soul of a university,” said Leah Lebec, standing in Bobst Library’s 6th floor reading room in October 2016. Lebec and her husband, Alain, were being honored for their million dollar gift to renovate the space. They were inspired by “all the opportunities this great university has opened up for our family,” Lebec said. She has a PhD from GSAS; both her parents had NYU degrees, and all the Lebecs’ children, Gabriel, Xavier, and Christina, are alumni as well.
Lebec spoke at a party hosted by the Libraries to celebrate the family in the Lebec Reading Room, where a plaque on the wall lists the name and class year of each family member. Looking at the wall of windows with its sweeping view above Washington Square Park, Leah Lebec observed, “I cannot think of any other room in any other building that would more eloquently symbolize the power of a great education.”
The Lebec family collectively attended many different NYU schools, but all of them drew on the support of library resources. “For multigenerational alumni families, making a single gift to the Libraries makes sense as a fitting way to commemorate their entire, shared NYU experience,” says Susan Rider, the Libraries’ director of development. “We hope the Lebec’s gift will inspire other NYU families to do the same.” For more information, please contact, Susan Rider at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-998-6956.
Richard Grefrath (WSC '68), one of our most Loyal donors, has been supporting scholarships for over a decade. He continues to give back to his alma mater to show his appreciation for an experience that culitvated his future career.
"NYU has been huge for me. I transferred from Carnegie-Mellon University, where I had been an engineering/mathematics major, but ultimately realized I was an English major at heart. The brilliance of the NYU faculty and the stimulating, challenging coursework in the arts and humanities fulfilled my dreams; actually living in historic Greenwich village resulted in a glorious panorama of urban adventures. I continue to support NYU in gratitude for its major role in forming my intellect and sensibility."
After graduating from NYU, Richard was drafted into the Army 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. Upon return, he earned his M.A. in English and M.L.S. in Library Science, which launched his career as a Reference Librarian. His first position was at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. In 1978, he joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno and retired in 2006. Now in his days of retirement, he enjoys his time by continuing research at the University of Nevada, Reno, travelling with family, and spending time with his lovely wife, Tina.
Peggy Cash graduated from NYU fulfilling her parents' dream for her to be the first in their family to attend college. To escape segregation in Tennessee, her parents moved to Newark when she was 3. NYU opened the world around her, thanks to the friendships she made during her time as a student. "My early childhood education major had 11 girls, and I was the only African-American and I felt totally accepted," she says.
NYU allowed Peggy to flourish and achieve dreams beyond just fulfilling her parents wishes. After graduating in 1961, she spent the next summer studying in the Netherlands in an international exchange program. She was then involved with an African scholarship program of American Universities, running summer orientation for African students coming to the U.S., followed by American Field Service work.
Now, after many years of teaching, Peggy extends her generosity by establishing a scholarship at NYU to honor the memory of her parents, the path they inspired for her to take, and to extend their influence to a new generation. Thinking of future students, Peggy says, "I want their world to be as open as mine was."
Tori Spainhour graduated cum laude from the Gallatin School in 2017. She understands firsthand the significance of financial support, as she was also a scholarship recipient during her time at NYU. Coming to college from the foster care system, she heavily relied on financial aid to complete her academic career.
"As an alumna of NYU, I cannot begin to stress the importance of giving back. I wouldn't have been able to graduate without the generous gifts made by my fellow NYU alum."
"I give back to make sure that no prospective student is put in a position where they have to turn down their dream education; everyone deserves a chance to shoot for the stars, regardless of their personal and financial background."
While a student, she worked at the NYU Phonathon as a caller and manager, personally raising $200k for student scholarships. As someone who's seen all facts of giving at NYU, Tori is a shining example of philanthropy, full circle. She now works at Pace University where she manages their Enrollment Management Call Center.
Howard Friedman (WSC '70, GSAS '72, '76), one of our most Loyal donors, has been supporting scholarships for over 30 years. NYU is one of his most treasured memories which continues to drive his daily regard and gratefulness for his time as a student. He attended NYU for 10 consecutive years, earning his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in Chemistry. As one of the first WSC graduates to attend the Heights campus, he was able to experience the two different campuses—the Square, which he describes as the "bustling cosmopolitan center where everything was happening," and the Heights, which was "bucolic, slower, quieter and calm." "It was the best of both worlds," Howard says.
Howard vividly remembers his time at NYU—when tuition was just $948 a semester, when grades were posted by social security number, and when there were elevator operators. He recalls writing his 300-page dissertation on a typewriter and sending it via post to his advisor. He was part of NYU's radio station and was a teaching assistant in the Chemistry lab, where he met his wife Lori (HEIGHTS '74).
The memories of NYU brings Howard a sense of excitement and appreciation for a time that empowered and altered his experience as a young adult, and one that shaped his path and relationships. "It was the first place where I felt I was a big person—where I was appreciated by the faculty and I felt like I was a part of them, not treated like a number."