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Marvin Lender, wife donate $5M to Syracuse University for Center for Social Justice

By Eric Reinhardt

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Marvin Lender and his wife, Helaine, donated $5 million to help Syracuse University establish the Lender Center for Social Justice in the School of Education. Marvin Lender, a life trustee member of the Syracuse University board of trustees, and the Lender family are “known as much for their philanthropy as for their business,” Lender’s Frozen Bagels, Syracuse said in a news release. (Photo provided by Syracuse University)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University alumni Marvin Lender and his wife, Helaine, have donated $5 million to help establish the Lender Center for Social Justice in the School of Education.

The “multidisciplinary” center will include research support, symposia, and faculty and student fellowships, Syracuse said in a news release.

The center represents the Lenders’ “lifelong commitment to social justice and greater understanding among people.”

Syracuse hosted a dedication ceremony for the Center for Social Justice on Friday in Helaine and Marvin Lender Auditorium in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

Marvin Lender graduated from Syracuse in 1963 and Helaine (Gold) Lender graduated in 1965.

Marvin Lender, a life trustee member of the Syracuse University board of trustees, and the Lender family are “known as much for their philanthropy as for their business,” Lender’s Frozen Bagels.

After his graduation from Syracuse, Marvin married his “college sweetheart,” Helaine, and joined his brothers in their bagel company, which at the time was located in a garage behind their home in New Haven, Connecticut.

Along with his brother, Murray, they grew Lender’s Frozen Bagels into a “household name.”

After the sale of Lender’s to Kraft Foods in 1984, Marvin Lender devoted his time to “philanthropy and helping others,” Syracuse said.

 About the center

The multidisciplinary center has “long been a dream” of the Lenders, who “knew unequivocally they wanted to support such an endeavor” at the school.

“We knew that Syracuse University would have the desire and knowledge to make our dream a reality,” Helaine Lender said in the release. “This is our chance to do something special that will hopefully have an impact now and on future generations.”

With an “enduring underlying mission to develop ethical and courageous citizens,” the Lender Center for Social Justice will “aspire to become nationally recognized for encouraging creative and critical engagement with social justice,” as described in the release.

It will support “innovative and multidisciplinary research of contemporary social problems while providing proactive and concrete approaches and solutions.”

“The work of the Lender Center will be another part of the extensive legacy that Marvin and Helaine Lender have established in working for social justice and creating a forum for dialogue on global issues,” Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said. “This center will be a catalyst for greater understanding and hope. They continue to inspire others through their support of Syracuse University and their vision for the center and its work.”

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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