November 26, 2001
Blank gives $5M for institute endowment
By Michael Terrazas firstname.lastname@example.org
Emorys Institute for Jewish Studies has received a five-year, $5
million challenge grant from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation,
giving the fast-growing center the springboard it needs to leap to the
forefront of Jewish scholarship in the United States.
The institute hopes to establish a $10 million endowment, and the Blank
gift was made with the understanding that Emory would raise the additional
$5 million. The gift also gives naming rights for the institute to Arthur
Blank, co-founder and retired co-chairman of The Home Depot. Blank is
an Emory trustee and distinguished executive in residence at Goizueta
We are absolutely thrilled, said Deborah Lipstadt, institute
director and Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies. Its
a tremendous vote of confidence in our program for Arthur Blank to make
such a generous contribution to the institute and the University.
Arthur Blanks generous and thoughtful contribution,
said President Bill Chace, will give great impetus and encouragement
to the Universitys plans for Jewish studies and will place Emory
directly in the center of one of the most important intellectual and cultural
areas in academic and public life.
Emory College Interim Dean Bobby Paul said the gift presents the institute
with a unique opportunity. Emory is already blessed with an outstanding
program in Jewish studies, numbering among its relatively small but distinguished
faculty some of the best known and admired scholars in the country and
indeed in the world in their respective fields, from Rabbinics to Holocaust
studies to the Middle East, Paul said. Thanks to the far-seeing
generosity of Arthur Blank, Emory will now be able to take a giant step
forward to become one of the premier centers for Jewish learning anywhere.
I am delighted that this wonderful and outstanding man has supported
Emory again and in such a meaningful way, said Bill Fox, senior
vice president for Institutional Advancement. Jewish studies has
made a significant contribution to scholarship and the enrichment of community
life, and Arthur believes in and supports both in his generosity and in
his personal life. He is a superb human being.
Our family foundation is pleased to be able to support Emory University
and the Institute for Jewish Studies, Blank said. The endowment
we are helping to establish will allow this outstanding institute to further
enhance staff and study programs to the benefit of all its students.
Lipstadt said the institutes goals for the endowment are multifaceted
and address everything from faculty recruitment and program space to scholarship
and curriculum expansion. In a written summary identifying key needs for
the program, Lipstadt also mentioned the need to hire a full-time, professional
Were already stretched so thinthere are a lot of students
who want to come and study with us, she said. Well just
go from strength to strength [in using the new resources].
David Blumenthal, Cohen Professor of Judaic Studies, said he believes
Blank saw an opportunity to take a program that was already very good
and turn it into something excellent. Just look at our website (www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/JewishStudies),
Blumenthal said. Theres a lot going on here. This gift will
allow us to create an island of excellence, certainly in the Southeastern
United States and probably at a national level.
A native of Flushing, N.Y., Blank graduated with distinction from Babson
College. Currently, he serves on a number of boards in addition to Emorys,
including the Carter Center, the North Carolina Outward Bound School,
Cox Enterprises, Post Properties and Staples. He will begin serving as
chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in 2003.
Founded in 1995, the Blank Family Foundation is committed to supporting
programs and organizations that create opportunity, enhance self-esteem
and increase awareness about cultural and community issues among young
men and women. Grants to date total more than $40 million.
Emory established the Institute for Jewish Studies in February 1999 to
pull together its existing graduate program in the field and create an
undergraduate component. The institute has a core of 13 faculty, three
of whom hold chaired professorships, with another 13 professors serving
as associate faculty.
Emorys long and admirable openness to the Jewish community of the South and of the nation is one of its distinctive and unique features, Paul said. The gift from the Blank Found-ation is a fitting capstone to this worthy tradition.