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Messinger Family Gifts Strengthen a Philanthropic Legacy at the University of Rochester

The Messinger FamilyMartin E. Messinger ’49 and his family have given an additional $1.3 million to establish three endowed funds at the University of Rochester, continuing a philanthropic legacy that spans more than four decades. Their most recent gift provides continuing and future support for the Messinger Library Recognition Award, the Judaic Studies program, and the student Debate Union.

President Joel Seligman said, “Marty Messinger long has been extraordinary in his willingness to share inspiring ideas, to support projects that make a difference at our University, and to participate on our Board and its Investment Committee as a thought leader. We are deeply grateful to Marty and his wonderful family.”

Enduring ties

Marty’s uncle, Isadore (Izzy) Messinger, M.D., began a Messinger family legacy of attending the University of Rochester, graduating in 1919. Following Dr. Messinger’s passing, his wife Mabel made a substantial gift to endow a fund in support of Judaic Studies at the University. Their daughter, Alice Ruth Messinger, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University in 1945 with honors. Marty’s aunt, Mildred Messinger Goldstein, was a member of the Class of 1929 and her brother, William J. Messinger, M.D., graduated from the University in 1933. Marty’s father, David, and other uncle, Max (Tricksy), worked so the family’s oldest and youngest sons, and only daughter could attend the University of Rochester. Marty’s daughter, Rabbi Sarah Jo, earned her degree in religious studies from the University of Rochester in 1982.

Marty also attended the University, earning an economics and government degree. Offered a full-tuition scholarship at Harvard Kennedy School, he was too young to attend and went to Columbia University where he received his M.B.A. in 1950. He worked for Merrill Lynch & Co. in Rochester during the 1950s and ’60s. He then joined Merrill Lynch in New York City, rising to Vice President – Management and assistant to company President Donald Regan, who later became Chief-of-Staff for U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Since 1973, Marty has been managing partner of Neuberger & Berman, LLC.

In 1998, he established a philanthropic foundation to support the already engrained family commitment to giving back. Foundation members include Marty and his wife, Joan. Through the involvement of their daughters — Daryl, Alice, Lisa, and Sarah Jo — the shared value of philanthropy extends across generations.

In describing his family’s philanthropic legacy, Marty said, “We are fortunate as a family that we have earned the ability to assist institutions and individuals. Our children continue our family faith and tradition and have earned leadership responsibility. We hope it will be continued in future generations."

Supporting excellence

Over the years, the Messingers have focused much of their support on Rush Rhees Library, Judaic Studies, the Debate Union, and the Eastman School of Music. Their most recent gifts represent the continuation of a vision that has been unfolding for decades.

Senior Vice President and Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering Peter Lennie said, “Marty Messinger and his family have greatly enriched the University of Rochester experience for our students, faculty, and staff. We deeply appreciate gifts like this that provide annual fund support in perpetuity. The Messingers’ generosity benefits the entire University and its extended community.”

Areas that will benefit from the Messinger family’s most recent gift are:

Longstanding support

In addition to the areas receiving endowed funds from the Messingers’ newest gift, a highlight of the Messingers’ longstanding support is their commitment to the Eastman School of Music. Marty provided funding for the building containing the Eastman Community Music School at 10 Gibbs Street in Rochester. The facility was dedicated in October 2005 in memory of Marty’s mother, Anne Waltuck Messinger, for her love of music.

A legacy of leadership

Marty Messinger has served on the University of Rochester’s Board of Trustees since 1989, and he is a Life Trustee. He has served on the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee since 1997 and the Investment Committee since 1994; he was formerly a member of the Trustees’ Visiting Committee.

Marty was named to the Eastman School of Music’s Board of Managers in 1997 and joined the Eastman School’s National Council in 2008. He is also a Charter Member of the George Eastman Circle.
In 2006, Marty received the Robert F. Metzdorf Award presented in deep appreciation by the Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries. That same year he was awarded the Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal, the highest honor given by the University to an alumnus.

The Messinger family’s generosity has substantially contributed to the University of Rochester’s increasing stature as a world renowned center of education, research, and service. Their caring and involvement are an outstanding example of the legacy of leadership, spanning generations, that has and will continue to support the community’s commitment to the Meliora ethos: always striving to be ever better.