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Stainman Family Makes $2.5 Million Gift to Support Classical Studies

When Lois and Arthur Stainman decided to honor the memory of  Solomon Bluhm, Mrs. Stainman’s grandfather, they knew what they wanted to do. “My grandfather was an extraordinary man,” she says. “He was an intellectual, a great scholar and a longtime professor at Hunter. My whole memory of him was during his years teaching at Hunter.”

Dr. Bluhm taught in the School of Education for some 30 years, but his great love was the  Classics. And so the Stainmans decided to create the Solomon Bluhm Scholars Program, for high-achieving juniors majoring in Greek, Latin or Classical studies. The Stainmans’ $2.5 million gift will annually allow up to 10 juniors with a GPA of 3.5 or above to receive full scholarships for up two years. The program also supports activities like study abroad, research and conference participation, GRE preparation and other local cultural and scholarly events and activities.“

At a time when many colleges and universities are downsizing their Classical studies programs, the Solomon Bluhm program will allow Hunter to enhance and expand the opportunities for students drawn to the study of Latin, Greek, and Classical civilizations,” says Robert Koehl, chair of the Department of Classical and Oriental Studies.

As philanthropists, the Stainmans support an array of organizations encompassing the amelioration of hunger, human rights, the environment, education and the arts. “We’ve lived most of our lives in New York” says Mr. Stainman, a senior managing director at First Manhattan Co., an investment management firm. “We’ve made our money in New York. And so it seemed natural to focus on New York-based organizations.”

“That’s why, when it came to education, Hunter seemed like a perfect fit,” Mr. Stainman adds. “We understand the financial burden that a college education can impose – it just seemed like a wonderful opportunity.”

The first cohort of students will enter the Solomon Bluhm Scholars Program this fall.  Going forward, the program will enroll up to 20 juniors and seniors every year. “It’s been wonderful working with the Stainmans on this program,” says President Jennifer J. Raab. “The Bluhm Scholarships are a visionary piece of philanthropy, one that will ensure that the Classics will remain a robust field of study at Hunter.”

Over the next few years, says Mrs. Stainman, “we’d like to see the program running smoothly and have its first graduating class, with many students going on to graduate school. But mostly we want them to acquire a solid foundation in  the liberal arts".

“We’ll be very happy to see the students we’re supporting graduate,” adds Mr. Stainman. “We want to see them become successful in their own right, whatever they choose to do. We’ll measure the success of the program by their success in life.”

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