Alumni Robert and Richard Menschel Awarded Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy
Robert B. Menschel ’51, H’91 and Richard L. Menschel ’55 were honored with the highly prestigious Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy for their decades of philanthropy during a ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 15, at the New York Public Library.
Longtime supporters of Syracuse University and a myriad of other interests, including the arts, education, health and justice, the brothers were among eight medal recipients at this year’s event.
The award is given by the Carnegie Corp. of New York, on behalf of the international consortium of Carnegie institutions, to honor philanthropists who embody the spirit of giving reflected in Andrew Carnegie.
Medalists are chosen based on a significant impact they have made on a particular field, nation or group of people.
During the event, Judy Woodruff, co-anchor and managing editor of the PBS “NewsHour,” served as master of ceremonies. Other honorees included Paul G. Allen, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, and Charles F. Feeney, founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies.
The event also featured videos of the honorees, narrated by Tina Fey.
Robert Menschel is a Syracuse University Honorary Trustee, who served as a voting board member for 23 years, and has provided significant support and leadership to the University.
Robert Menschel joined Goldman Sachs in 1954, establishing the Institutional Sales department, the first in the industry. He became a partner in 1968 and continues at Goldman Sachs as a senior director. Through Vital Projects, the foundation he started over 50 years ago, Menschel has been a major supporter of photography and has established galleries and/or programs at the Museum of Modern Art (where he was chairman and president), the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery, among others. He is a trustee and member of the executive committee of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Through Vital Projects, he is also a supporter of criminal and social justice reform, among many other interests.
At Syracuse University, Robert Menschel has been the major sustaining private supporter of Light Work and Community Darkrooms and established the Robert B. Menschel Media Center.
“Bob Menschel has been a friend and supporter of Light Work for over 30 years. His love of photography and belief in Light Work’s focused mission to support artists working in photography has touched the lives of countless individuals and artists,” says Jeffrey Hoone, executive director of Light Work and the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers, who attended the ceremony in New York City. “We simply would not have been as successful an organization without Bob’s encouragement, advice and generosity. We thank him and an entire generation of artists working in photography have him to thank as well.”
In addition, Robert Menschel established the University Lectures and the William Safire Chair in Modern Letters, which he created for his lifelong friend Bill Safire. He also established the Paul Volcker Chair in Behavioral Economics at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and has supported many other ventures. He is the recipient of the George Arents Medal and an honorary degree from Syracuse University.
Richard Menschel, who served as an officer in the Air Force, began his career at Goldman Sachs in 1959; he was a partner and management committee member when he retired and is now a senior director. He is chairman emeritus of the Hospital for Special Surgery. He is a vice president and trustee of the Morgan Library and Museum. His philanthropy is directed largely through trusts he established, the Charina Foundation and the Charina Endowment Fund.
Among his many contributions to Syracuse University, Richard Menschel and his wife Ronay established the Robert B. Menschel Public Service Award, administered by the Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public & Community Service. The couple established the award in honor of Robert to perpetuate his commitment to the not-for-profit world by supplementing income earned by students in not-for-profit internships.
Robert and Richard Menschel together provided funding for “Six Curved Walls (Syracuse),” an outdoor art installation on the Crouse College hillside, created by Sol Lewit ’49.
The Carnegie Medal recipients are awarded a bronze medal and a bust of Andrew Carnegie, an original work of art for the award and cast in bronze.