CINCINNATI - Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), announced a $5 million gift from Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson as the lead gift for a $17 million major construction and development project at the College-Institute's Cincinnati campus. This gift, one of the largest non-testamentary donations in the history of the 129-year old institution, will significantly strengthen the capacity of this learning center to serve the North American Reform Movement and the Jewish people globally.
The announcement took place Monday, October 18 at Mayerson Hall at HUC-JIR's Cincinnati campus, before an audience of members of the Board of Governors, faculty, alumni, students, and administration. Rabbi Ellenson discussed the vital role HUC-JIR plays as the intellectual center of the Reform Movement in Judaism. He emphasized the importance of the Klau Library on the Cincinnati campus, which is ranked as the largest and most important Judaic library in North America and is renowned for its considerable resources for Jewish study, research, and education.
"Libraries," said Ellenson, "are the heart and soul of academic institutions. They offer the insights and research of centuries of scholarship. As a guardian of Jewish heritage and learning, the College-Institute has a sacred responsibility to sustain and preserve these collections and to expand access to these resources to students and scholars around the world."
Gregory Brown, the College-Institute's Chief Administrative Officer, presented a comprehensive master plan for improvement of the campus: the expansion and remodeling of the Klau Library, transformation of the gymnasium into an auditorium and collections storage facility, renovation of the administration building and dormitories, expansion of faculty and administrative offices, and an addition to Mayerson Hall that will provide a central welcoming entry point for the campus. These improvements, Brown said, are congruent with the needs of HUC-JIR, its mission, and its master strategic plan for progressive advancement.
Rabbi Ellenson paid tribute to Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson for their decades of commitment and support for HUC-JIR. Manuel Mayerson, a member of the Board of Governors and an honorary alumnus of HUC-JIR, and his wife, Rhoda, are generous benefactors of the College-Institute and were major donors of Mayerson Hall, which houses HUC-JIR's Skirball Museum Cincinnati, The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, the HUC-UC Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems, The Archaeology Center, and a broad array of community outreach, adult learning, and student programs.
In congratulating the Mayersons on their landmark gift, Burton Lehman, Chair of the Board of Governors, said, "Manny and Rhoda's openhearted generosity sustain every aspect of our institution. From Mayerson Hall to student scholarships, their unstinting support has also made possible so many meaningful initiatives, including the Mayerson Fieldwork Program, which strengthens our students' internships and mentorships, and the advancement of technology and distance education, which represents the new frontier in our recruitment, learning, and outreach. Truly, their heart is all over this Cincinnati campus, and it is so deeply felt and appreciated by all of us. We see it every day as it is reflected in their love for our faculty who teach here and our students who learn here."
"Thank you," said Manuel Mayerson, "for the opportunity to make HUC-JIR the most important Jewish institution in the world."
The Mayersons' leading gift is a major contribution to HUC-JIR's new project, which will follow the current addition and expansion of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati with the new Edwin A. Malloy Education Building, established by the Malloy family in memory of a beloved member of HUC-JIR's Board of Governors, and featuring The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati's Electronic Learning Center, scheduled to be dedicated June, 2005.