The Graduate Center

William P. Kelly
Amabel B. James
(with an additional 1,600 drawn from CUNY campuses)

Established in 1961, The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally-recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, The Graduate Center offers over 30 doctoral programs in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and the natural sciences, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields. The school currently enrolls over 4,000 students from throughout the United States and 80 foreign countries. Its alumni hold major positions in industry, government, and academia. The Graduate Center is also home to 28 interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. With its move in 1999 to a new campus in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, and through its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events, The Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life.

Private Philanthropy FY00-FY09 — $66,000,000
Projected Philanthropy Target through FY2015 — $128,000,000

Philanthropic support to the Graduate Center during the campaign totaled over $66 million. Gifts and pledges continue to assist with student and faculty support, and programs.

Gift Highlights
Donors to the Graduate Center have included:

  • Joseph & Sylvia Slifka Foundation contributed $8,560,000 toward student support.
  • The Baisley Powell Elebash Fund contributed $1,500,000 for music research and programming.
  • The Durst Family provided $2,000,000 to establish the Seymour B. Durst Old York Library and Reading Room.
  • The B. Altman Foundation provided a $1,000,000 grant for doctoral student fellowships.
  • The late Monroe Carell, Jr. contributed $1,000,000 to establish the Monroe Carell Dissertation Fellowships.
  • The Leon Levy Foundation contributed $3,700,000 to establish the Leon Levy Center for Biography.

Look Who's Investing in The Graduate Center


The Joseph & Sylvia Slifka Foundation

The Joseph and Sylvia Slifka Foundation has made several major contributions to the Graduate Center. Among them was a commitment of $8.5 million that has transformed the institution. This gift funded 1,000 fellowships immediately vaulting the Graduate Center into a competitive position with every other major graduate school in the country. With support from the CUNY Compact these students are also benefitting from teaching positions throughout the University.


The Baisley Powell Elebash Fund

The Baisley Powell Elebash Fund established a $1.5 million endowment which has funded research within the Music Departments of the Graduate Center and supports the Elebash Recital Hall at the Graduate Center, which is becoming a major venue for chamber music in New York.


The Durst Family

Through The Old York Foundation, the Durst Family provided a $2 million endowment to establish The Seymour B. Durst Old York Library and Reading Room at the Graduate Center. The Library is a tribute to the late real estate developer Seymour Durst who had a passion for New York City history. The endowment supports the maintenance of a large collection of rare books, photos, images, postcards, maps, and other New York City memorabilia. It also provides for a librarian and the creation of the online catalogue, making it accessible to students, scholars and researchers from around the globe.


The B. Altman Foundation

In May 2001, The B. Altman Foundation awarded the Graduate Center a grant of $1 million to establish the B. Altman Endowment Fund for doctoral student fellowships. The Altman Foundation carries out Benjamin Altman's philanthropic legacy and commitment to New York City. The B. Altman Endowment Fund is an especially meaningful tribute to Mr. Altman, the founder of B. Altman & Company, since it supports learning and research in the building where he spent his professional life.


Monroe Carell, Jr.

The late Monroe Carell established a $1 million endowment at the Graduate Center to help doctoral students in their last stage of doctoral studies. The Monroe Carell Dissertation Fellowship enables students to work almost exclusively on their dissertation. Founder of the Central Parking Corporation and a native of Nashville, Tennessee, Mr. Carell expressed his admiration for doctoral students, noting the financial challenges and hardships they must endure on the road to a Ph.D. In November 2006, Mr. Carell was honored by the Graduate Center for his commitment to its students and for his philanthropy. President Kelly presented Mr. Carell with The Graduate Center's highest honor, the President's Medal.

The Leon Levy Foundation

The Leon Levy Center for Biography has been established at the Graduate Center, thanks to a gift of $3.7 million from the Leon Levy Foundation. The Center examines the practice and methodologies of biography, and fosters discussion about the nature of biography and its legitimacy as a scholarly pursuit. It will initiate a dialogue between scholars and noted biographers working outside the academy. The gift makes possible a lecture and a conference that will bring compelling forums about biography to the general public, and also includes support for Biography Fellows, Dissertation Fellows, and Graduate Student Fellows.