Showing posts with label Donor Spotlight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donor Spotlight. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Donor Spotlight: James A. D’Addario ’72 and the D’Addario Community Music Appreciation Initiative

The D’Addario Community Music Appreciation Initiative, established at Hofstra in the summer of 2011, is a multifaceted program designed to increase knowledge and appreciation for all types of music among a broad range of young people. The initiative addresses several needs at Hofstra and in the local community: It promotes music appreciation, showcases the student and faculty talent of the Hofstra Music Department, and creates opportunities for Hofstra’s music ensembles to visit and perform at local schools and other community venues.

Over the 2011-2012 academic year, the Initiative helped fund the February 2 concert, A Ride on the Underground Railroad, and the May 5 D’Addario Music Appreciation Concert (see page 47), which featured the talents of Hofstra students, faculty and alumni, as well as high school talent from the local community. The Initiative also allowed students from the Hofstra University Chamber Choir, directed by Hofstra Associate Professor of Music David Fryling, to embark on a five-state concert and teaching tour during spring break in April.

The D’Addario Initiative permitted Hofstra’s professional ensembles-in-residence – The American Chamber Ensemble and Hofstra String Orchestra – to perform for and work with students at three Long Island high schools. Hofstra Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Christopher Morrongiello brought his Hofstra student Madrigal Group to two local libraries where they performed selections of seasonal early music. Additionally, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Laurie Friedman-Adler led a group of faculty and students to LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Queens, NY, where they performed the Mozart Serenade in Eb for Wind Octet and taught a master class.

James A. D’Addario ’72 is chairman and CEO of D’Addario & Co., which manufactures musical accessories and is the world’s leading manufacturer of musical instrument strings, reeds for woodwinds, and drumheads. Mr. D’Addario received the 2002 Small Business Association’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and is listed as the inventor on many musical patents. In a 2007 interview with Hofstra Magazine, he said, “Midway through my college career, preparing to be a music teacher, the lure of our family business made me change my career plans, and I considered dropping out of college. It was through the encouragement of my professors, and particularly Herb Deutsch [Hofstra Class of 1956 and professor emeritus of music], that I realized the significance of the educational opportunity I was receiving at Hofstra.”

Mr. D’Addario is a recipient of a 2007 Award for Alumni Achievement from Hofstra.

Donor Spotlight: Joseph Heaney ’53

Joseph Heaney and his wife, Anne, are longtime friends and supporters of Hofstra University. Mr. Heaney transferred to Hofstra in 1951 from Champlain College in Plattsburgh, New York, a two-year college that opened to accommodate the large number of World War II veterans pursuing an education under the GI Bill. A few such schools like that had opened because war veterans were actually overwhelming the New York college system.

Mr. Heaney majored in accounting at Hofstra and cites Professors Nick Vogel and Harold Fogg (both Hofstra alumni from the Class of 1946) in a list of his favorite professors. “I went to school during the day and had to be at work at LaGuardia Airport by 3-3:30 p.m.” He juggled his studies with a full-time job as chief ticket agent for Northeast Airlines. After his graduation from Hofstra, the Korean War was underway, and Mr. Heaney re-enlisted with the U.S. Marine Corps. He spent the rest of his service in Washington, D.C., commuting on the weekends to visit his wife, who was living in their home in Jackson Heights, Queens. Following the Korean War, he returned to New York, and he and his wife moved to Hempstead, where they have lived for more than 50 years.

Mr. Heaney strongly advocates staying in touch with the University. They have been generous donors to Hofstra for the past 27 years. He and his wife also show their support for the University by regularly attending Hofstra events, including the 2012 Hofstra Dutch Festival, a performance by The Bronx Opera Company and the annual Hofstra Gala. “When I was a student, I was working – I didn’t have time to do much on campus. Today, it’s a nice cultural outlet for us.”

Mr. Heaney remained at Northeast Airlines, eventually becoming a sales representative and an assistant manager. Northeast was later purchased by Delta, and Mr. Heaney remained there until his retirement in 1988. In addition to spending time at Hofstra events, today he volunteers at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. And he jokes that his accounting degree from Hofstra continues to come in handy as he helps count the collection at his church once a week.

Donor Spotlight: Debra Sandler ’82

Debra Sandler was named president of Mars Chocolate North America in April 2012, after having served as chief consumer officer since 2009. She is a donor to the University and has served on the Board of Trustees since 2008. Ms. Sandler was recently interviewed via email by Hofstra Magazine about her “sweet success” and the importance of giving back to her alma mater.

What brought you to Hofstra for your undergraduate studies? When you were planning your career, did you always see yourself in a leadership/management position?

I came to Hofstra quite unexpectedly – I was living in Trinidad and Tobago. I had hoped to go to university in Europe to study languages, but my mother was very concerned about my being so far away. She suggested that I go to school in New York (near her sister in Hempstead) for a couple of years before transferring to a school in Europe. I chose Hofstra from the other schools in the New York area because it was the only one that offered an opportunity to combine my love of languages with my interest in business and economics for an undergraduate degree in international trade.

My initial aspiration was to return to Trinidad and to ultimately run for a government office, so I guess it would be fair to say that I always saw myself in a leadership position.

Were you involved in any extracurricular activities as a student? Do you have any favorite Hofstra memories?

While at Hofstra I was most involved with the African Caribbean Students Association, and I also ran on the winning ticket for Student Government in my senior year. Some of my most favorite memories come from my work as an R.A. in Tower D (seventh floor). I think this was a foundation for some of my leadership strengths in later years!

Did you have a favorite class, or were there any professors who acted as mentors to you?

I enjoyed so many of my professors at Hofstra – Professor Zacchoni for economics, Professors Kaufmann and Benson for business, and Professor Sung for international finance. It was Professor Moore for international trade who was probably my favorite teacher. I remember looking forward to these classes and imagining what it would be like to work on a global scale. It felt comfortable to me and inspired me to do the work that I enjoy today.

When people see your title at Mars, they may think of a “candyland” type of atmosphere. What do you think would surprise people about what you do or what your responsibilities are at Mars? What are the challenges of leading one of the most well-known confection manufacturers in the world?

I feel honored to lead the team at Mars, and in some respects it could look like we work in a “candyland” type of atmosphere. There are certainly always opportunities to “taste” new products, and our vending machines freely dispense all of our favorite chocolate brands. But if this is all you saw, it would only be the surface. We are a business like any other, and I think people might be surprised at the time and attention paid to the quality of ingredients and the quality of our products. At the time of this interview, I am visiting an organic, sustainable cocoa farm to better understand our entire process from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar, and it is impressive to see the attention to detail at every step of the process – probably not what you might imagine when you pick up one of our products for 89 cents at Walmart.

You have been a trustee at Hofstra for four years, and you have long maintained a relationship with the University. Why do you feel – with a schedule as busy as yours – that it’s important to stay in touch with and give back to your alma mater?

I love Hofstra. The University afforded me so many opportunities to learn and grow at a critical time in my life, and I firmly believe it provided the foundational learning that supports me to this day. When I began work on my M.B.A. at NYU, I remember feeling that I had a head start on many of the other students around me – thanks to Hofstra. I have many demands on my time, and it is challenging to find the time to do all that I would like to do as an alum. I wish I could do more.

In this time of economic uncertainty, what advice would you offer new Hofstra graduates and also current students about succeeding in business? Do you have any do’s or don’ts to offer?

These are indeed difficult times and especially for business students – over the last decade, many corporations have been forced to find ways to get the work done with fewer resources, and even as the economy improves many of these jobs will not return. I would advise students to consider the following:

• Think of ways to distinguish yourself from the pack. This could be with unique experiences or skills. A good example is building skills in the area of social media – most corporations are still experimenting in this area and are looking for ways to improve.

• Be hungry and be flexible. I am still amazed by the number of people who show up for an interview, appearing only moderately interested. It is a basic issue, but you still need to do your research on the company and the people you will be meeting with. You still need to demonstrate that their job is the most interesting job you are considering and the value you can add to the company. The reality is that there are many others waiting at the front door for the very same job. Consider alternative positions to the one you are applying for – as an undergrad it is sometimes more important to get in the door and find your path from there.

• Consider entrepreneurship. Economic downturns are ripe times for innovation, and history has proven that this is one of the drivers of new business and new ideas. If you cannot get anyone to hire you, think of what you can create – there are always jobs or needs that are being unmet or underserved.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Donor Spotlight: Christine Houston '86

Christine Houston earned a B.A. from Hofstra in economics. She was a commuting student, and, like many students, she juggled part-time jobs to help pay for her education. Though her time on campus was limited due to her busy schedule, she remembers, “I had several great professors, especially those in economics and the international business classes — in fact, I took my first Chinese language classes at Hofstra.”

Today, Ms. Houston is the founder and managing director of ESGI, a fully retained executive search firm specializing in senior-level appointments in Asia for a select group of multinational clients. The firm serves a range of diverse industry sectors, with its main areas of expertise in financial services, technology and real estate. In 2005, under Ms. Houston’s leadership, ESGI was ranked by Asia Money as one of the Top 10 Best Headhunting Firms in Asia.

Ms. Houston entered the executive search profession in 1986 when she joined Korn/Ferry International. She was a partner in the New York office for five years, during which she led and managed crossborder
searches with Asia. In 1990 she joined the New York office of TASA (now known as TMP Search), and in 1994 she became the managing partner of the Hong Kong office. During her tenure with TASA in Hong Kong, she headed the Financial Services and Technology Practices in Asia, including Japan.

Ms. Houston is a generous contributor to The Fund for Hofstra University. She says she has stayed involved with University “because the education I received at Hofstra has been integral to my success.”

She is also a member of Hofstra’s Women in Leadership program, which highlights the accomplishments of successful Hofstra alumnae and is becoming a professional resource and network for alumnae and current students. Ms. Houston advises students and recent graduates to be on the lookout for professional opportunities and challenges that will move their careers along, perhaps in directions unanticipated. “Always keep your eye on your goal, and don’t get distracted or discouraged by the ‘tasks’ right in front of you,” she says.

“What always has worked well for me is to take the opportunity that provides the greatest ‘stretch.’ For example, when I graduated I had two job offers ... one in Garden City and one in New York City. The former actually paid more, and I would have not had major commuting expenses. But I chose to take the New York City job, since I felt that if I took the local job I would become too complacent. And so from New York I went to Tokyo, back to New York and then to Hong Kong, where I have been for 17 years.”

Donor Spotlight: Daniel Spahr '02

Daniel Spahr was an active and engaged student at Hofstra, who took advantage of four study abroad programs and fell in love with travel and the experience of selfdiscovery. His first study abroad experience to Italy would later inspire him to publish a memoir, The Montepulciano Mob, in 2010. The book details Dan’s first time being away from his family and outside the country as he learned about himself, his peers, and the world away from his home on Long Island.

Dan says this first study abroad experience and the three others that followed — to Madrid, Australia and Venice — instilled in him a love for adventure and exploration. He says each of the study abroad programs “hold very different memories for me. They really helped me expand my ability to see the world and to understand different cultures.”

After graduating from Hofstra in 2002, Dan relocated to the
West Coast — a move he says he would “not have had the guts to make” had it not been for his time abroad. He began to work as a part-time teacher, while also pursuing a Master of Arts in school
ounseling. Upon completing the M.A., he worked in the Bay Area of San Francisco for several years as a high school counselor. He followed that up with a position as a day counselor and job coach for five mentally disabled adults. While doing all this, he volunteered his time to and financially supported Under One Roof, which raises money for HIV/AIDS charities in San Francisco.
He emphasizes again the value of study abroad and how it changed his outlook on life. “As a counselor both in New York and California, I’ve been able to use my experiences abroad to understand how people come from other countries to live in this country and how scary it can be. You learn to have empathy for these people.”

Proceeds from the sale of Dan’s memoir, The Montepulciano Mob, benefit a scholarship he has
established for the Hofstra in Venice program. “I created the scholarship to help other students have the experience that I did. I created it particularly for that program because Venice has always been my favorite city. If I had to live anyplace outside America, I would choose Venice.” 

Though he graduated less than a decade ago, giving back to Hofstra is a priority for Dan. “I wanted to make sure the torch is passed. I wanted to find a way to help people and give back to a place and aprogram that helped me become the person I am today.”

Donor Spotlight: Donna Diamond '86

Donna Diamond, who earned an M.B.A. from Hofstra with a concentration in business computer information systems, is the chief administrative partner and COO of Chernoff Diamond & Co., LLC, a
benefits and risk management advisory firm she co-founded with Alexander Chernoff in 1980.

At the time she was pursuing the M.B.A., Ms. Diamond was juggling her studies with a full-time career. She was very appreciative of the flexibility that Hofstra graduate studies offered her. “I attended Hofstra as a part-time, evening graduate student. The program and classes accommodated my working schedule, an important consideration at the time. The education I received was varied and comprehensive.”

Ms. Diamond has been an involved alumna – contributing to The Fund for Hofstra University and through her membership in the University’s Women in Leadership organization, a group that serves as a resource for current students and other alumnae with round-table discussions, mentor-mentee relationships, panel discussions and networking events.

“I believe any organization that supports women in a leadership role is important for society as a whole,” she said. “I think of the influence we can have in shaping how gender roles are equalized and what the world will look like in the years to come.”

Ms. Diamond first became involved with Women in Leadership after meeting Hofstra University’s Assistant Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Meredith Celentano at the kick-off meeting for the 2010 “Every Woman Matters: A Walk for Women and Their Families,” a fundraiser for the North Shore- LIJ Health System’s new Katz Institute for Women’s Health and Katz Women’s Hospital. “What interested me in participating in the Women in Leadership Program was to be a part of an organization with other successful women and whose objective is to provide programs and activities to assist students and alumnae in many different areas, including mentoring,” she said.

Ms. Diamond has a success story from which students can learn. Chernoff Diamond has grown from a modest staff of three to more than 100 employees, partners and senior executives with offices in Garden City, New York; Manhattan; and Glastonbury, Connecticut. “We’ve built this business from the ground up,” she says. “Our staff members have developed careers here based on opportunities for advancement, challenging work, professionalism, great values, the level of client service, work environment and benefits.”

Just as Chernoff Diamond has evolved significantly since its founding, Ms. Diamond appreciates how recent Hofstra news has enhanced the University’s local and national profile. “With the addition of the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University and now with the imminent launch of a School of Engineering and Applied Science, Hofstra has secured its place as the preeminent school of higher learning on Long Island. These advances are critical to the economic development and the future of our region.”

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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