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Albert and Willma Musher




Albert Musher was born in 1904 to Anna and Nathan Musher. His father, Nathan, who was born in Russia, lived for a short time in Palestine, where he learned English; he then emigrated to the United States where he became a travel ing salesman for the Singer Sewing Machine Company. In this capacity, he traveled from San Francisco to Washington, DC where he settled his family, having purchased a small olive oil business from an Italian neighbor. This company, Pompeian Olive Oil, bec ame the world’s largest olive oil company at one time, and the basis for the family’s considerable wealth. However, in addition to his financial fortune, there were times when Albert and his family were without resources. This variety of life experiences has given Albert a broad perspective, a sincere empathy for the disadvantaged, an appreciation for the intellectual qualities of the university, and a sharp business sense for astute investment strategies.


Sidney Musher, Albert Musher (standing, l. to r.), their parents, Anna and Nathan Musher and maternal grandmother



After a childhood in Washington D.C., Albert attended George Washington University, and the Wharton School of Business. He received a B.A. degree in economics from Johns Hopkins University. He then joined the growing family busi ness where he worked in every area, from developing new products, to marketing, to holding executive offices. In the laboratory, where the utilization of oil by-products was being investigated, he developed one of the chief characteristics of both his bus iness career and his personal life: an active curiosity about how things work.


His interest in how things work, particularly how substances interact, became one of the hallmarks of Albert Musher’s career. He went on to hold over 50 U.S. and foreign patents in both the food and pharmaceutical fields, sharin g with his younger brother, Sidney, an interest in using antioxidant agents derived from raw cereals to protect oils from rancidity. Their work with raw cereals led to the development of oatmeal skin products. Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal, one of these produc ts, is now marketed nationally.

Since his days as a college student in a psychology class, Mr. Musher has cultivated an interest in "what makes people tick." This interest no doubt aided his rise to prominence in the business world, where his acumen extended from the laboratory to th e executive office to the boardroom. In the span of his career, he has built new businesses and has served as President of numerous business enterprises including Pompeian Olive Oil Company, General Mayonnaise Corporation, Aveeno Pharmaceuticals, Private Brands, Inc., the Musher Corporation, and Musher Laboratories. He also has been a board director of Stiefel Laboratories and of Cooper Laboratories.

Mr. and Mrs. Werner Stiefel, Mr. Albert Musher, Columbia University School of Social Work Dean Ronald Feldman, and Columbia University Provost Jonathan Cole on the occasion of the establishment of the Musher Professorship



In 1932 Albert Musher married Willma, the second child of Jack and Sadie Rosenthal. The couple were happily married for 53 years until Willma’s death in 1985. Together they raised two children. Their son, Jonathan Musher, receiv ed a B.A. in economics from Columbia College and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and is now a senior vice-president in an investment firm. Their daughter, Betsy Boruchoff, received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a degree in social work fro m Fordham University and is a practicing psychotherapist. The family now includes seven grand-children and five great grand-children.



Throughout his life, Mr. Musher has had a strong personal commitment to the good of the community. He served as President of B’Nai B’rith’s Mother Lodge, the Parents’ Associations of the Bronx High School of Science, and the Cli nton-LaSalle Community Center. He was founder and first President of the West Side Association of Community Centers. In addition, Mr. Musher has served as Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the New York City Board of Education, Community Educa tion Division, a Board Director of the United Parents Association of New York, a Committee Member of the Division of Community Education of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, and a founder of Temple Sholom (New Milford, CT).

Mr. Albert Musher at the altar of Temple Emanu-El in New York City


Comments by Albert Musher at the Celebration Establishing the Willma and Albert Musher Chair Professorship

Low Library Rotunda Columbia University in the City of New York

February 23, 1995

The Willma and Albert Musher Chair has evolved from my conviction that the betterment of human life can best be accomplished through the use of the principles and procedures of science. My Concept envisions bringing about life betterment and contentmen t through more effective science and life engineering. My hope is that the Musher Chair can play a crucial role in making this vision a reality.

We know that the everyday human being is wonderfully, magnificently, and, thus far, incomprehensibly structured. Humans can see the glorious colors of the flower, and the beauty of the sea, and the stars and the moon. They can hear the rushing sounds o f the winds through the trees and delight in the songs and harmony of the birds and nature. They can sense the delicate flavor of fine foods—and they can also hear and feel the pangs of horrible moans. They can create thoughts, and ideas, and machines tha t can fly and that can make people happy—and, also, that can destroy them. They can reproduce themselves into countless magnificent creations with manifold abilities to create and perform endless acts of beauty and, yes, also acts of ugliness.

In many respects, the human entity operates as a mechanical machine. It has its own pump to circulate its blood to every region of the body. And, it generates its own physical energy to walk and breathe. It can even heal itself. What complexity of work ing parts this body is, to maintain, and to operate, and to flourish!

Even more, this human entity has sensory and communicating devices which our human mind does not yet have the ability to understand. There are devices such as the conscience to give us a prod when we are on the wrong track—and the emotion of satisfacti on when we are moving in the right direction. Also, when we need comfort or guidance there are lines of communication to spiritual sources, to friends, to family, and, even, to social workers. In sum, we are creations of unimaginable scientific genius. Wi th such an unbelievable fund of power and of abilities, what inconceivable opportunities are open to the human! With the potential given to us by our Creator, and with our capabilities of reason and creativity, the future of mankind can be unlimited.

But, we must realize that our magnificent potential can either languish in the dust or shine in the sun. My Concept aims to enable human beings to structure their lives and their behavior so as to achieve the application of proven scientific procedures . The realization of our full potential can result in steady movement towards life betterment and in greater contentment. Indeed, yesterday’s miracles can now be explained by today’s science. And, in turn, today’s science will generate tomorrow’s miracles .

Quality of life is the centerpiece of human existence. My Concept envisions life betterment through more effective science and life engineering, and my dream is that we will be able to improve lives throughout the world. I am grateful and delighted tha t my dream is now taking an important first step toward becoming a reality, and that establishment of the Willma and Albert Musher Chair is that crucial step. It is my hope that others will soon join this important effort to advance humankind through scie nce and, subsequently, through improved social work practice.

Albert Musher at the celebration of the establishment of the Professorship and Program



Mr. Albert Musher’s great grandson Jeffrey Winer, grandson Lukas Musher, grandson Jeremy Musher (l. to r.) listening to the speeches at the celebration of the establishment of the Professorship and Program at Low Memorial Library, Columbia University

Upon Appointment of the First Willma and Albert Chair Professor Mr. Musher Presented the Following Statement to Columbia University.

"Willma and I applaud the appointment of Edward J. Mullen as the first occupant of the Willma and Albert Musher Chair for the Betterment of Life through Science and Technology at the Columbia University School of Social Work.

 We congratulate Columbia University in the professionalism that this appointment brings to the University.

We congratulate the Columbia University School of Social Work for the talent and wisdom and professional scholarship that this appointment brings to them in such a significant move forward towards life contentment and life behavior efficiency.

As a Musher family of parents, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and those to follow, we acknowledge with great satisfaction the feeling of confidence engendered in us by knowing that the reigns for the blossoming of this Musher Concept f or life betterment and happiness have been placed within the province of the highly respected Columbia University, the highly respected Dean Ronald A. Feldman, and the highly respected first Professorship holder Edward J. Mullen.

What better legacy can we leave for our family that follows! May God bless all of you who now venture forth into this significant step towards a more contented life for all of mankind."

Willma and Albert Musher

September 21, 1995



Willma and Albert Musher





Columbia University School of Social Work Dean Ronald A. Feldman, Mr. Albert Musher, Professor Edward J. Mullen (l. to r.) on the occasion of the celebration of the naming of the Chair Professorship


Willma (inset) and Albert Musher, their two children Betsy Boruchoff and Jonathan (top), granddaughters Nancy Orgel (l.) and Barbara Winer (r.), and great-grandchildren.


Dean Ronald A. Feldman, Provost Jonathan Cole, and Mr. Albert Musher (l. to r.) on occasion of the celebration of the establishment of the Musher Chair Professorship


Willma and Albert Musher’s daughter, Betsy Boruchoff (c.) with her daughters Barbara Winer (l.) and Nancy Orgel (r.) at the establishment of the Musher Chair Professorship


Comments by Noah Musher (age 10) at the Celebration Establishing the Willma and Albert Musher Chair Professorship

Low Library Rotunda

Columbia University in the City of New York

February 23, 1995

Introduction by the Dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work, Dean Ronald Feldman: "We’re going to have one final last speaker, who I had not expected to speak, but who I suspect will be the most effective speaker of anyone you heard to night!"

I’m Noah Musher, grandson of Albert and Willma Musher and behind me are Grampa Albert’s grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Grampa Albert has told me about the work that he and Columbia University are doing together. All of us wanted to be a part of this party tonight.

I would just like to say for all of us grandchildren and great grandchildren and for all the children of the world who will benefit from this work as they grow up:

Thank you Grampa and all the people at Columbia University for trying to help him achieve his goal and make lives of the future better and happier.

So again, thank you Grampa, we all love you.


Musher Family members including, at the podium, grandson Noah Musher in the Columbia University Low Memorial Library rotunda on the occasion of the celebration of the establishment of the Musher Professorship

Dean Ronald A. Feldman, Ms. Lorraine Albert, and Mr. Albert Musher (l. to r. ) on the occasion of the celebration of the appointment of the first Musher Professor