Skip to main content

Why We Give


Impact Makers

Our alumni and friends, and the beneficiaries of their generosity, have stories to share.

Read their inspiring stories below:



Alex Li ’73CC

Alex Li is planning now to make more possible for students through a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT).

Dr. Augustus John Rush Jr., ’68PS & Dee Rush Esq.

Augustus John Rush Jr., MD, ’68PS, is a world-renowned psychiatrist.

Bahary Brothers

For brothers Kamel, Emil, and Bill Bahary, Columbia University is more than just their alma mater. It's their intellectual home.

Barbara Campagna ’86GSAPP

“I attended Columbia thanks to a generous scholarship. I’m planning my gift now so that others like me can study what they love and make an impact.”

Ben Hughes ’96BUS

Ben Hughes ’96BUS didn’t take the usual route to business school.

Brian Chang ’93CC

The world opened up for Brian Chang ’93CC when he came to Columbia.

Carlos A. Cuevas ’CC05 ’12IA ’12PH

“The generosity of the Columbia community changed the course of my entire family’s life.”

Carlos Cruz ’88CC

“I hope for the better. I think we all do, but I think most Columbia graduates go out into the world hoping to improve it.”

Carlos Medeiros ’85BUS

“The outstanding education I got at Columbia Business School was instrumental to my very fulfilling career.”

Cindy Graham Tether ’80BUS

"Columbia prepared me with a great education, and now I feel blessed to be able to give back."

Dan Baker ’76CC

Dan Baker `76CC learned to be generous of self when he was an undergraduate at Columbia, a value he put into service after graduation in his successful career in non-profits and consulting.

David F. A. Walker ’80CC

David F. A. Walker ’80CC worked in fundraising for 30 years and was still raising money for nonprofits after his retirement, but didn't have any charities in his will until he got a call from Columbia’s gift planning office.

Dorothy Butler Gilliam ’61JN

"My hope is that my gifts expand access to the study of journalism to those who couldn't otherwise afford it."

Dr. Theo George Wilson

Dr. Theo George Wilson first connected with Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute through his late wife Claudia Land, who went back to school at Columbia later in life.

Eleanor (Ellie) S. Applewhaite ’62LAW

For Eleanor (Ellie) S. Applewhaite ’62LAW, who attended law school at the height of the civil rights movement, her Columbia connections proved indispensable.

Ellen Pan, MD PS'77

Growing up in a family of modest means, Ellen Pan, MD, had the ambition, intelligence, and dedication required for a successful career in medicine—as well as the foresight to understand the economic challenge presented by medical school.

Erin Zyko Hussein’92CC ’95LAW

Growing up in Waterbury, Connecticut, Erin Zyko Hussein’92CC ’95LAW knew what she wanted in a college: academic rigor and a strong medieval studies program.

Ethelyn Katz Geschwind ’84SEAS

“It’s that simple to impact someone’s whole life for the better.”

Frank Gumper ’73GSAS, ’83BUS

“I have always had a fondness for Lamont; they do great work, and I received a great education,” Frank says. “Because of the education I received, I had a very fortunate business career. "

Frank Rinaldi ’99SEAS

Frank Rinaldi is planning now to make more possible through a bequest to the Columbia University sailing program.

Gilda Serrano CSSW ’72

“My hope is to support students like me.”

Gordon Kit ’76CC

The love of film has been ingrained in Gordon Kit ’76CC since childhood, when he frequented drive-in theaters with his family.

Grace Frisone ’76SIPA, ’77BUS

As a first-generation college student, earned two master’s degrees from Columbia University, in international affairs in 1976 followed by an MBA in 1977.

Hartley Platt du Pont ’76SOA

Hartley “Harty” Platt du Pont `76SOA has enjoyed several successful careers led by her love of art and sports and her time at Columbia.

Dr. Hasan Bazari ’76CC, ’78GSAS, ’79GSAS

Dr. Hasan Bazari ’76CC, ’78GSAS and ’79GSAS understands what it means to pay it forward and he knows from experience the importance of giving back. 

Jacqueline Rosay, ’64GSAS

“I just loved school and particularly loved Columbia. Now I want to reciprocate.”

Jeff Franklin ’68SEAS

"It was important to us to see the effects of our giving now."

John Seibert ’69SEAS

As student protests roiled the campus, Spring 1968 was a pivotal moment in Columbia University’s history—and a profoundly formative one for John Seibert ’69SEAS. 

Jooyun "Julie" Oh Ybarra ’98BUS

"When you make a charitable gift, start with your most appreciated securities."

Keville Frederickson Tomasson ’64NRS, ’74TC

“I've always thought of Columbia as part of my family, and I want to help future students feel that same connection.”

Laurie Gehen Marsden ’98GS ’99SW

From Fashion Model to Psychotherapist: A Career Change with Columbia’s Help Inspires a Bequest

Len Levine ’70CC

“The entire university seemed wide open intellectually, and I found that very attractive.”

Leonard Robinson ’13SEAS

“I Dream of Supporting Students”

Linda Winslow ’67JN

Linda Winslow, ’67JN, got in on the ground floor of the creation of public television and from its inception was a producer of PBS NewsHour.

Louis A. Parks,’95GSAS, ’03BUS, ’12GS

For Louis A. Parks,’95GSAS, ’03BUS, ’12GS, learning is a lifelong undertaking.

Marcella Stapor ’59GS

"Seeing what my gift means to the students has been one of the highlights of my life."

Marian Chuan ’57SW

"If we commit our lives to making things better, even just a little, we can change the world."

Matthew Waldman ’02CC

Growing up in West Orange, New Jersey, Matthew Waldman ’02CC hoped he would follow in his family’s footsteps to the University of Pennsylvania, where his father and older brother were graduates.

Michele Esposito ’96CC

Michele Esposito ’96CC is a very active volunteer at Columbia College: She currently serves on the Columbia College Alumni Association board of directors.

Milagro Ruiz ’84GS

“By investing in Columbia students, I feel like I'm giving to the world.”

Omar ’59SEAS and Camella Wing

"Columbia taught me what quality education is all about."

Patricia Riley ’76NRS

Columbia Nurse Graduate Establishes Scholarship at the School of Nursing

Paul LeClerc ’66GSAS ’69GSAS

“There is a real joy in giving to an institution that you love. That’s the magic of it. You can advance scholarship, teaching, and learning in one of the world’s best universities. ”

Riley Jones IV ’17CC

Riley Jones IV ’17CC didn’t wait until graduation to launch his career. He was a sophomore when he co-founded Bloc, an organization designed to help students of color find jobs and internships after graduation.

Rex Smith ’80CJN

Rex Smith’s career was launched at age 7, when he created a neighborhood newspaper, The Maywood Roundup.

Richard Simmons and Mary Bleeker Simmons ’60NRS

“My parents wanted to give those who were interested in pursuing the field of nursing an opportunity to do so by opening a scholarship fund to make that dream possible.”

Scott Yagoda, Esq. ’86CC ’92LAW

“Columbia has been a gift to my family. I want someone else to have that gift, and hopefully, with endowed scholarships, it’ll be a forever gift.”

Steven Young, DDS, OMS '99DM

Steven Young, DMD, an oral surgeon, graduated from the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 1999. He and his wife, who attended the School of Social Work, chose to give back to Columbia by creating a Charitable Remainder Unitrust.

Susan Alexion ’79BUS

“I want to ensure that future students are afforded the same opportunities that I had.”

Thomas K. Chu ’89CC

“It’s so important to show your gratitude, to help make more possible for the next generation and to continue to break down barriers. For these reasons, giving back was easy for me to do.”

Tom Ferguson ’74CC

“We’re honored to contribute in a way that commemorates our family’s shared experience and provides needed financial aid.”