It’s not every day that a meeting of college trustees makes the pages of The Wall Street Journal. But the June 6th meeting of the Hunter College Foundation was one for the ages. After retiring Foundation Chair Klara Silverstein (‘54, MA ’56) said her goodbyes, Hunter President Jennifer J. Raab made an announcement of her own: Klara’s husband, Larry, had pledged a $5 million gift to create the Klara and Larry Silverstein Student Success Center on the seventh floor of the Hunter College Library. President Raab then presented not only detailed renderings of the proposed student center but also Larry himself, who, along with several other family members, had sneaked into the back of the room minutes before.
“I’ve never been so surprised or moved in my life,” said Klara. “I was sad to say goodbye, but Larry and Jennifer sure knew how to brighten my day.”
Since Klara had long been instrumental in raising funds for the major library renovation now underway, it was hard to keep word of her husband’s gift from leaking beyond the president’s office door before the surprise announcement. “No one has been a bigger advocate for our new library than Klara, so keeping the secret was no easy task,” Raab admitted.
Like all of the Silversteins’ contributions to Hunter—from Klara’s service on the board to the couple’s many generous student scholarships and their ongoing support for an endowed dean at the School of Education—this gift will transform the lives of Hunter students. The Success Center will provide a beautiful space for students and faculty members to gather for work, study and collaboration—a priceless resource for a commuter school like Hunter. Its value is something Klara understands all too well.
“I loved being a Hunter student, but I remember how hard it could be to find a quiet place on campus to work and meet with friends,” she said. “I couldn’t be prouder to have my name and Larry’s attached to the new center.”