Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Donor Spotlight: Jeffrey D. Straussman '66

Jeffrey D. Straussman came to Hofstra on a music scholarship, a trumpet player from Queens who was, by his own admission, hardly a star student in his first few semesters. Then he took a political science class with now-Professor Emeritus Herb Rosenbaum, whose involvement in the issues of the day sparked an interest in school he’d never had before.

“I was getting mainly C’s for quite awhile in the beginning,” said Dr. Straussman, a Fulbright Scholar who became dean of Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University of Albany in 2006. “When I started to look back at my Hofstra days, it really was a couple of very good professors who turned me around.”

“They were some very good teachers who cared about what they were doing, who interested me and excited me about intellectual pursuits,” Dr. Straussman said. “It had an important effect that led to a slow change in my academics in terms of seriousness and success.”

In fact, Dr. Straussman became a political science major and went on to a distinguished career in academia. He earned a master’s degree in political science and a doctorate in the discipline from the City University of New York. Before joining the University of Albany, Dr. Straussman was associate dean of the Maxwell School and chair of public administration at Syracuse University, where he taught for many years.

A widely published author in the areas of finance and budgeting, with a particular expertise in administrative reform in transitional countries, Dr. Straussman has taught and consulted in dozens of countries, including Macedonia, Israel, Venezuela, the Czech Republic, the People’s Republic of China, Bulgaria, Brazil and India.

He will be leaving the University of Albany later this summer to teach at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

It was only very recently though, that Dr. Straussman took time to consider the path his life might have taken had it not been for the scholarship that started his college career and the professors who motivated him to be a better student. “After many years and some reflection, I realized the value of my time at Hofstra and said to myself, ‘it’s time to give back a little,’” Dr. Straussman said of his decision to support the University. “I thought — I’ve had a successful career and I had that scholarship … so I went online, and I donated.”


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