It wasn’t uncommon for earlier generations of Baruchians to fantasize about the future of their beloved college, especially its campus. Their dreams usually included a green, shady oasis for studying and socializing, more akin to a traditional quad than the sidewalks with which they made do. Of course, students valued most the education they received and the opportunities they made from it. But now Baruch is realizing what erstwhile students only imagined—and then some. Our grand-scale changes and long-term objectives will fill you with pride.
On May 2, just 10 weeks after the official opening of the College’s long-awaited pedestrian plaza on 25th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues, it was clear that this new “campus commons” had already become a center of student life. The 13,380-square-foot space was the new venue for the College’s annual Spring Fling, the pre-finals block party celebrating the end of the semester and academic year. Christopher Catalano (’13), Undergraduate Student Government president for 2012–13, noted that the 25th Street Interim Plaza has engendered “faith among the students that Baruch has the capability to become bigger and better, to become a campus that we never even imagined possible.” The plaza, which expands the College’s physical presence and creates a sense of place for Baruch and its neighbors, represents the College’s commitment to the student experience and is a powerful symbol of all the ways that the Baruch Means Business campaign—begun in 2007—is transforming the College.
A TRIO OF NEWSWORTHY MOMENTS IN BARUCH HISTORY
- Connecting Through the 17 Lex Society
- Student Scholarships: Gratitude Comes Full Circle
- It’s a Group Effort
Just as the Interim Plaza connects Baruch’s two main campus buildings—the Newman Vertical Campus and the Information and Technology Building—and makes students’ passage easier, so the College’s Starr Career Development Center offers students an effective bridge between student life and rewarding professional lives.
Baruch’s Starr Career Development Center (SCDC)—renamed in honor of the Starr Foundation’s multimillion-dollar gifts to the College’s career office—provides career counseling, internship and career fairs, mock interviews, résumé reviews, and innovative multi-term partnerships that offer students foundational career experience, such as the Baruch Extended Finance Internship Program with JPMorgan Chase. The Starr Foundation grant and subsequent funding (nearly $7 million since the Baruch Means Business campaign began), along with Baruch College Fund (BCF) support and additional gifts like those from current BCF President Joel J. Cohen (’59) and his wife, Lillian, have been “game changers,” says Patricia Imbimbo, SCDC director. “We’ve more than doubled the number of workshops and events we hold.”
The SCDC’s metrics are amazing: Last year, 7,000 students took advantage of center services, over 3,000 employers recruited at Baruch for more than 10,000 employment opportunities, and the Starr Search online site for job and internship opportunities had 290,000 log-ins. Even more profound, though, have been the changes toward career preparation, with the help of programs such as Starr Track, a four-year guide that takes students from freshman-year exploration of clubs and summer internships through senior-year networking that can be key to launching a career. Notes Imbimbo, “Companies are now taking Baruch more seriously as a source of top candidates for front-office and other high-profile jobs.”
Many of the College’s illustrious scions cite their undergrad arts experiences as among their most transformative, including distinguished business leader and arts advocate George Weissman (’39, LLD [Hon.] ’82). Weissman, who died in 2009, led Philip Morris Companies as chairman and CEO and later Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as chairman. In 1998 he and his wife, Mildred, endowed Baruch’s School of Liberal Arts and Sciences (later renamed the Mildred and George Weissman School of Arts and Sciences), and on the 15th anniversary of the school’s naming, Mrs. Weissman continued their legacy with an additional multimillion-dollar gift to the current campaign.
It isn’t difficult for Baruch to uphold the Weissmans’ vision, especially with such facilities as the Baruch Performing Arts Center (BPAC), which has for the past 10 years been a driving force at the College and in the local community. BPAC’s most important function, according to its managing director John Malatesta, is service to students, many of whom experience their first professional productions—music, dance, and theater—at the center. An estimated 15,000 Baruch students benefit from BPAC programming annually.
Among student-centered BPAC programming, the Joel Segall Great Works Reading Series is a highlight. Created and endowed during the campaign by Aaron Shapiro (’49, LHD [Hon.] ’89) and his business partner, Michael Lobel, the Joel Segall Great Works Reading Series offers live stage readings of classical and contemporary theatrical works. The series, which welcomes 3,200 students annually, was created in conjunction with the Weissman School’s mission to provide a strong liberal arts foundation to students regardless of major. “Whether you’re becoming an accountant or you want to work in public policy or finance, art is for you,” says Malatesta. “The arts are how we learn to examine humanity and life.”
For Baruch to earn top national rankings for the Zicklin School of Business, School of Public Affairs, and Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, the College needs to attract and retain high-caliber faculty—productive in scholarly activities and research while fulfilling Baruch’s commitment to excellence in teaching. Partnering with Baruch to accomplish these ambitious goals are such organizations as the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, Rubin Foundation, and Eugene M. Lang Foundation.
The Lang Foundation is a prime example of how the Baruch Means Business campaign has leveraged institutional support to enhance the College’s commitment to faculty excellence. The foundation established the Eugene M. Lang Junior Faculty Research Fellowship Program at Baruch in 1998 and, during the Baruch Means Business campaign, endowed the program with additional gifts totaling $1 million. This competitive program, one of few such sources of support available to junior faculty, provides talented young faculty members with the funds they need to pursue research. (Since the Lang Program’s inception, over 100 faculty research fellowships have been awarded.) Recipients represent a cross-section of faculty from all three schools and recently included Shakespeare scholar Allison Deutermann, housing policy analyst Hilary Botein (below: quoted left; photo right), and strategic management and international business expert Weilei (Stone) Shi.
The Lang Fellowship affected my research trajectory by giving me the flexibility to focus on my project and is one of very few such sources of support available to junior faculty.
Institutional funders add value beyond the dollars they award, explains Mark Gibbel, vice president of college advancement: “Their gifts are based on merit and offer external validation and prestige, build the College’s reputation nationally, and help attract additional support.”