Miller Center Receives $1 Million Gift

Gift from Trustee George Feldenkreis also supports Judaic Studies Program.

(January 29, 2013) — George Feldenkreis, member of the University of Miami Board of Trustees and prominent businessman, has given $1 million to the UM Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies and the George Feldenkreis Judaic Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. This significant contribution, which is part of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami, builds on his previous $2 million of support to both entities.

Founded in 2004 the Feldenkreis Judaic Studies Program is a broad, flexible, interdisciplinary program designed for undergraduates to gain an understanding of Jewish civilization and its diverse cultural experiences. The program, which is non-theological in orientation, is an academic exploration of the multi-faceted, socio-historical, 4,000-year record of the Jewish people. Courses highlight the variety of cultural, political, social, and religious experiences of Jews in different times and places, providing a strong foundation for advanced academic study, professional careers in a variety of fields, and a more complex and rich understanding of the world.

“My hope is that this additional gift will allow the Miller Center and the George Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies to continue to impart the wisdom and richness of Jewish culture and history and Jewish experiences through the ages,” Feldenkreis said.

Feldenkreis, chairman and CEO of Perry Ellis International, arrived in Miami from Havana, Cuba, in 1961 with his family and only $700. He and his late brother founded Supreme International clothing company in 1967, the company which was to become Perry Ellis International in 1999. Feldenkreis strongly believes in philanthropy and feels that individuals who are financially successful have the obligation to support their community. The Feldenkreis family supports various organizations and groups, including the United Way, where Feldenkreis is a Million Dollar Roundtable member of United Way of Miami-Dade’s Tocqueville Society.

“We are, as always, very grateful to George Feldenkreis for his generosity and personal support of the Judaic Studies Program,” said Dr. Haim Shaked, director of the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. “Thanks to his ongoing personal commitment and keen interest in our academic work, we have been able to enrich the lives and academic experiences of more students and members of the UM and general communities than we ever thought possible.”

Feldenkreis, who joined the University of Miami Board of Trustees in 1997, has chaired its master planning committee and served on its executive committee. He also supports the College of Engineering, the Miller School of Medicine, and the Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund at UM.

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The University of Miami’s mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of the diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world. http://www.miami.edu.

Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami seeks to advance learning, elevate scholarship, and make bold strides in health care in the community, across the country, and around the world. Momentum2 comes on the heels of the institution’s record-breaking Momentum: The Campaign for the University of Miami, which concluded at the end of 2007 and raised more than $1.4 billion for endowed chairs and professorships, scholarships, facilities, academic and medical programs, and other initiatives. www.miami.edu/momentum2.

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University of Miami’s mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of our diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world.