A generous donation from Charlie Dreifus (’66, MBA ’73) and his wife Madeline is poised to enable Baruch College to strengthen its historic legacy of educational accessibility for students facing financial challenges. The couple’s recent $5 million bequest, for the establishment of the Charles and Madeline Dreifus Scholarship, is the College’s largest-ever one-time scholarship gift. Mr. Dreifus is a Chartered Financial Analyst with more than 50 years of experience in the investment arena and is currently portfolio manager and managing director at Royce Investment Partners, which he joined in 1998. He has been a Baruch College Fund Trustee since 1995.
Products of the CUNY system who graduated college on the same day (she from Brooklyn College, he from Baruch), the Dreifuses experienced firsthand the life-changing power of affordable higher education. Both are first-generation college graduates, and Mr. Dreifus is a first-generation American as well; his immigrant parents met in New York, having fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
“In the 1960s we benefited from free tuition; we just had to pay a modest registration fee,” says Mrs. Dreifus, a former teacher and long-time education volunteer who later earned a master’s degree in special education from Kean College. “We’ve come to recognize that there’s an increasing need for broader financial support among current undergraduate students—who also face impediments like MetroCard costs, food insecurity, and rising fees—and we wanted to come up with a plan to help them, now and in the future.” Adds her husband, “We’ve been very fortunate, and we think people who benefited like we did from the public education system owe the community a great deal.” Mr. Dreifus also acknowledges his debt to legendary Baruch accounting professor Abraham Briloff, who became his mentor as he pursued a PhD at the College (“I started my dissertation but was engulfed by Wall Street,” he explains) and remained a lifelong friend. In 1996 he established a scholarship in Professor Briloff’s honor, and his Charles Dreifus Ethics-Across-the- Curriculum Initiative provides support for the College’s annual Ethics Week, including the awarding of Briloff Prizes in Ethics.
Avid champions of both of their CUNY alma maters, the couple are excited to help build on Baruch’s mission to foster opportunity and upward mobility. Observes Mr. Dreifus, “The surnames and the national origins may change over time, but it’s still the same success story.”