College Awards Philip Milstein Its Highest Honor

Hamilton Medal recipient Philip Milstein with his wife, Cheryl, and their children: Joshua and Meredith (back) and Laurence and Toby (front).
The Rotunda of Low Memorial Library was filled to capacity in November as University Trustee Philip L. Milstein ’71C was awarded the Alexander Hamilton Medal, Columbia College’s highest honor. The Hamilton Medal is presented by the Columbia College Alumni Association in recognition of distinguished service and accomplishment in any field of endeavor.

Milstein was singled out for his professional achievements as a specialist in commercial real estate lending and for his three decades of service to Columbia as an alumni volunteer, a member of the College Board of Visitors, a farsighted benefactor, and, since 1996, a University Trustee. He previously received two other prestigious Columbia honors: the Alumni Federation Medal in 1993 and the John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement in 1996.

Among those to join in celebrating Milstein’s accomplishments were Columbia College Dean Austin Quigley, who saluted him as “someone who sets a standard for all of us,” along with President Rupp and dinner co-chairs Mark Kingdon ’71C and University Trustee Richard Witten ’75C. Also attending were Milstein’s wife, Cheryl ’82BAR, their children Joshua, Meredith, Laurence, and Toby, his mother, Vivian Leiner Milstein, and his sister, Connie. His father, legendary New York business leader and philanthropist Seymour Milstein ’93hon, died just a month before the gala celebration.

Milstein with his mother, Vivian
The longstanding ties between the Milstein family and Columbia now extend across four generations. Family members have been extraordinarily generous to the University, providing the financial support and leadership that have been essential to a wide range of initiatives, including the establishment of the Morris and Rose Milstein Professorship of Surgery in 1972 and the opening of The Milstein Hospital Building at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 1989.

In 1998, Philip Milstein extended this tradition, making a visionary commitment of $10 million to create the Philip L. Milstein Family College Library as the centerpiece of the renovated Butler Library. This beautiful three-level facility has helped to revitalize intellectual life on campus, in the process helping to fuel the College’s steady rise in popularity among the nation’s brightest undergraduates.

Milstein, who earned an MBA from New York University School of Business in 1974 after graduating from Columbia College, has achieved prominence in the New York financial community during his years as president and CEO of Emigrant Savings Bank. As indicated by the warm reception extended to him by the 450 alumni, students, faculty, and administrators gathered at the Hamilton Dinner, he occupies an especially valued place at the University to which he has given so much of himself over the years.

PHOTOS: Eileen Barroso