Message From The President - Baruch College image
September 27, 2016

Baruch College Receives Transformational Gift for the School of Public and International Affairs

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
I am delighted to share some very exciting news: Baruch College has received a transformational gift of $30 million from a generous alumnus, Austin W. Marxe (BBA '65). This gift will endow and name the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs (MSPIA). Concurrently, David S. Birdsell, PhD, who has served with distinction as dean for the past 10 years, is being named the Marxe Dean and Professor.
Mr. Marxe's philanthropy is the largest single gift ever received by Baruch College, and it ties for the second-largest contribution in the history of The City University of New York (CUNY). The CUNY Board of Trustees approved this name change yesterday at its regular meeting. Baruch is now the only college in the CUNY system to have all its schools named and endowed. MSPIA joins the Zicklin School of Business and the George and Mildred Weissman School of Arts and Sciences in this distinction.

Meet Our Benefactor: Austin W. Marxe

Mr. Marxe's life and career define the "social mobility" on which Baruch prides itself—meaning our ability to give underserved students the knowledge and skills they need for professional success. Like so many of our students today, Austin came from a family of modest means that struggled financially during the Depression era. He is a native New Yorker who attended public schools in the Bronx and Queens before coming to Baruch. He worked multiple jobs by day and on weekends, and he attended classes at night.
Austin Marxe pursued accounting because he knew it would give him insights into many different types of businesses. He later took these insights and applied them to a very successful career as founder, president, and managing director of AWM Investment Company, Inc. With an eye toward giving back, in 2007 Mr. Marxe made a contribution to the Baruch College Fund for Bloomberg terminals. In 2011 he supported scholarships, and in 2015 he endowed the Austin Marxe Scholarship as part of the College's Scholarship Campaign. Take a minute to hear for yourself why Austin Marxe decided to endow MSPIA and what his aspirations are for the School.

A New Era for the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs

A gift of this magnitude will have a major impact on the visibility, prestige, programming—and most of all, on the students and faculty—of the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Dean Birdsell and the School's leadership are now in a position to create faculty chairs and provide support for scholarships, fellowships, and academic research at levels competitive with other elite schools. MSPIA will also become a worldwide focus of thought leadership, where great minds convene around the vital questions of the day and advance critical discussions of global importance.
As previously noted, MSPIA will be able to offer more student scholarships, graduate assistantships, and fellowships so students can study abroad and pursue prestigious—and usually unpaid—internships. Listen to what this gift means to two of MSPIA's students, Daniel Muniz ('18), MPA in Public Management, and Nara Sainthil ('18), MPA in Public Administration.
In short, in Austin Marxe's name and vision, we will prepare future leaders for public service and for careers in non-governmental and private organizations, where they will help bring about meaningful change around the world.

An Historic Time for Baruch College

This is an exciting time to be part of the Baruch College community. Despite financial and logistical hurdles that currently affect public institutions, Baruch has dramatically improved its campus and its national and international stature over the past decade.
  • We now have a dedicated outdoor space—the Clivner=Field Plaza on 25th Street—that is advancing toward permanent construction.
  • We are moving ahead with the Allen G. and Mary E. Aaronson Student Center, which will be located in a currently unused portion of the Madison Square Station Post Office.
  • With the receipt of partial state support, we continue to pursue the renovation of our historic Lawrence and Eris Field Building, at 17 Lexington Avenue.
  • And two weeks ago, Baruch College earned its highest-ever rankings from U.S. News & World Report, coming in at #5 among public institutions and #20 overall for universities in the Regional and North categories.
I am extremely proud of our progress, and none of it would have been possible without the dedication, creativity, and energy of our faculty and staff—and, of course, the inspiration we derive from our hardworking and highly deserving students.
Mitchel B. Wallerstein
President, Baruch College
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