June 18, 2014


The recent announcement of the $3.6 million gift from the Mandel Foundations to create the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Honors College is a defining moment in CSU's evolution as a premier urban university. To put this gift in perspective, I'd like to briefly tell you about Morton Mandel and our Honors program.

Growing up in a modest Cleveland neighborhood, Mort sold concessions at Cleveland Municipal Stadium to earn money. Years later, with his brothers Jack and Joseph, he founded the Premier Industrial Corporation, which became one of the world's largest industrial auto parts distributors. His success came from persistence and dedication, and he has been one of our city's greatest champions and philanthropists. In recognition of Mort's incredible impact, the University awarded him an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters in 2008.

Our Honors program serves 500 extraordinarily bright students who excelled in their high school studies and are highly motivated to succeed in college and beyond. Therefore it seems fitting that the newly renamed Mandel Honors College will provide our scholars with rigorous preparation for career excellence, and that the Foundations' endowment will ensure this pathway exists for years to come.

The Mandel Foundations made this tremendous investment because they recognize that Cleveland State graduates are the intellectual capital of Cleveland — the future civic, business, and nonprofit leaders of our community. We look forward to initiating a search for a Dean and the first recipient of the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Chair in Humanities.

Ronald M. Berkman

Cleveland State University

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