Columbia alum donates $1M to college

By Olivia Deloian, Campus Reporter

Courtesy John Bragg
The Efroymson Family Fund—from left­­, Elissa Hamid Efroymson, Lori Efroymson-Aguilera and Jeremy Efroymson—has donated $1.5 million overall to Columbia.

Columbia received a $1 million challenge grant from the Efroymson Family Fund to support the construction of the new student center as well as fund student programs.

Jeremy Efroymson, vice president of the Efroymson Family Fund and 1996 creative writing alumna, said his experience attending the college is what initially sparked his decision to help fund the student center.

“When I was a student, I remember hanging out in hallways and trying to find some place to go,” Efroymson said, “so the student center is going to be a real positive addition for the students at Columbia.”

According to a Jan. 17 News Office press release, the funds will be split evenly between the student center and student programs but invites others to match the donations.

The student center, which broke ground last November, is scheduled to be completed in early 2019, as reported Nov. 20, 2017, by The Chronicle.

Efroymson Family Fund Manager Joanna Nixon said the family awards grants on an ongoing basis in order to support its interests in helping students.

The Efroymson Family Fund, which started in 1999 as part of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, has now donated $1.5 million to various Columbia programs and scholarships since its first donation in 2007, according to the Efroymson Family Fund grant history.

“The Efroymson family does have a long history of supporting programs that benefit students and giving students access to enriching experiences that they would not have otherwise,” Nixon said. “There is incredible value [in] having a central space where students can come together and create a community.”

This donation comes shortly after a $190,000 gift for the student center by Board of Trustees member Barry Sabloff and his wife, Anne, as reported Dec. 4, 2017, by The Chronicle.

“The student center is needed and will not only improve the quality of student life, but also, I believe, significantly contribute to the vitality of the college,” Sabloff said in a Nov. 28 press release. “Anne and I are excited about the future of Columbia College Chicago and proud to support its important mission.”

Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Wolf said the college has resources to build the student center without any additional funding.

“What this does though, is it engages the Columbia community in a way that’s really wonderful and gets alumni and others more committed to what Columbia is trying to do for its students, and the mission of the school,” Wolf said.

As reported Sept. 12, 2017, by The Chronicle, the University Center was sold July 20, 2017, by Columbia, Roosevelt and DePaul University for $210 million. In another Nov. 20 Chronicle article, it was reported that President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim said most of the funding for the student center comes from the sale of the University Center.

The college has been permitted to begin initial construction of the student center in February, Wolf said.

“I have always been interested in [helping] the student experience, and that’s what the student center is about,” Efroymson said.