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Leon Cooperman ’64 Pledges $1M to Hunter During Speech to Students

As a student at Hunter in the ’60s, Leon Cooperman studied chemistry in preparation for a career in dentistry. Despite his acceptance to dental school, not to mention the dental drill he received etched with his initials, Cooperman soon realized he was better suited for a career in business. (A French class he took proved to have a longer- lasting influence, for it was there that he met and fell in love with his classmate, Toby Alowitz ’64, to whom he has been happily married for 46 years.) He returned to Hunter to take courses in economics, which allowed him to go on to Columbia Business School, where he earned his MBA. This was just one of the stories that Cooperman — the founder, CEO and president of the hedge fund Omega Advisors, Inc. — shared with a standing-room-only crowd at Hunter on October 22.  

He spoke about his career on Wall Street, where he spent 25 years at Goldman Sachs as a general partner and as chairman and CEO of Goldman’s Asset Management Division. He also offered his opinions on the current financial environment and the importance of philanthropy. Cooperman, who was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame in 199, then surprised the audience with the announcement that he and his wife would donate $1 million to Hunter. “After being an investor the past 40 years, I am happy to be in a position to give back,” he said.

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