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Columbia Business School’s 37th Annual Dinner, held on Monday, May 6, at the Waldorf Astoria, raised $3.2 million in unrestricted funds for the School’s programs and activities. It was the third-largest amount raised through the event, following 2011, when an anonymous donor matched the evening’s fundraising total, and 2004, when the establishment of the Meyer Feldberg Distinguished Fellowships inspired $10 million in donations. Overall, 173 gifts were made this year, including gifts from 53 new donors. Over 900 members of the School community attended, including nearly 200 students.
This year’s gala event recognized Ronald O. Perelman, a member of Columbia Business School’s Board of Overseers and chairman and CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., with the Distinguished Leadership in Business award. Erskine B. Bowles ’69, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, was honored with the Distinguished Leadership in Government award.
During the evening, Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a surprise appearance. He spoke about innovation and entrepreneurship in New York City and how Perelman’s recent gift to the School will enhance Columbia’s role as a center of business innovation. University President Lee C. Bollinger and Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard gave remarks, as well. Meyer Feldberg ’65, senior adviser at Morgan Stanley, dean emeritus, and professor at Columbia Business School, served as chair of the gala.
The signature fundraising event for Columbia Business School, the Annual Dinner brings together alumni, corporate partners, faculty members, students, and friends to network, reconnect, and generate critical support for curriculum development, financial aid, faculty research, and the School’s day-to-day operations. The following Benefactor-level donors led the sponsorship of this year’s Annual Dinner: the Asfari Foundation; the Geier Group; Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis ’69; MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.; Morgan Stanley/James Gorman ’87; Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert; and Jerry I. Speyer ’64/Tishman Speyer.