Gift supports establishment of new Center for Jewish Cultures and Ideas
CINCINNATI, July 27, 2010 – The Department of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati’s McMicken College of Arts & Sciences is one step closer to establishing the Center for Jewish Cultures and Ideas, thanks to a generous $1 million gift from the Kim and Gary Heiman Family Foundation. When complete, the multi-million dollar center will serve as a unique hub for enhancing the Judaic Studies program at UC, forging valuable community-wide partnerships and extending the university’s international reach.
“The generosity of the Kim and Gary Heiman Family Foundation will empower the Department of Judaic Studies to realize its fullest potential,” said McMicken College of Arts & Sciences Dean Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Ph.D. “The new learning opportunities made possible by this gift, combined with the abundance of resources already available through the University of Cincinnati’s vast network, will allow us to provide the highest level academic experience for students interested in Judaic Studies.”
The Kim and Gary Heiman Family Foundation gift adds to the progress of UC’s most ambitious $1 billion fundraising campaign, Proudly Cincinnati, which currently stands at more than $680 million. According to Department Head for Judaic Studies, Gila Safran Naveh, Ph.D., this gift will help the department proceed immediately with a variety of enhancements to build upon the program’s comprehensive learning experience, including:
- Distinguished visiting scholars from countries like Israel
- Increased study abroad and experiential learning opportunities
- New major tracks and Graduate certificate in Judaic Studies
- Endowed departmental chairs, including Jewish Law, Jewish Christian Relations, Israel and the Jewish People and Jews in American Popular Culture
- Educational conferences, symposiums and exhibits
- Opportunities for international faculty research and fellowships
- Opportunities for student exchange and travel
“In the world of higher education, and especially through the eyes of Judaic Studies, learning has a transformative power,” Safran Naveh said. “By equipping our students with the knowledge they need to better understand their own culture and embrace other cultures, we are investing in a brighter future for people across the globe. After all, the more we know about ‘the others’, the strangers, with respect to cultural values and ideals, the less they become ‘the fearful others’ and the more we will be able to all work together toward a common goal.”
“This unique approach to education can have a positive effect on the current state of affairs worldwide,” Safran Naveh continued. “The turmoil overseas continues to be a crisis rooted in the misunderstanding of other cultures. We are fortunate to have the support of the Kim and Gary Heiman Family Foundation and the entire Jewish community as we continue enhancing our curriculum with opportunities for students to explore Jewish history right here in Cincinnati and at its origin in Israel.”
The Heimans’ personal ties to the Jewish and Greater Cincinnati community are numerous. Ms. Heiman is an executive committee member of Rockwern Academy and Yad Vashem, and has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and campaign chair for Israel Bonds of Cincinnati. Ms. Heiman’s past community involvement has also included work with BRIDGES for a Just Community, Hebrew Union College, The American Jewish Committee and the Junior Achievement Globe Program. In 2001, the Cincinnati Enquirer named Ms. Heiman a Woman of the Year.
As a holder of dual citizenship, Mr. Heiman lived in Israel for 17 years, serving in the Israeli special forces during and after the “Yom Kippur War.” While living in Europe early in his business career, Mr. Heiman developed the skills necessary to conduct successful business in the international community. Currently, he serves as president of the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, one of the most esteemed and successful Jewish Foundations in the U.S., and has been a member of UC’s Board of Trustees since 2004.
Mr. Heiman’s international background and collaborative approach has guided his philosophy in business, which in many ways echoes the mission of UC’s Department of Judaic Studies. Under his able leadership as president and CEO of Standard Textile Co., Inc. Mr. Heiman has grown the company from one Cincinnati-based manufacturing facility to today’s 23 production facilities in 13 countries, serving customers in more than 55 countries.
“My professional success has been driven by my first-hand knowledge of diverse cultures, my ability to speak several foreign languages, my striving to unite people of diverse historical, cultural, and religious backgrounds to work toward our common goals, and my ability to forge meaningful and cordial relationships with leaders all over the world,” Mr. Heiman said. “Our strong support of UC’s Judaic Studies Department is formal recognition of a shared goal to educate all students about the power of international partnership and exchange.”
In recent years, the Department of Judaic Studies has adopted a strong interdisciplinary approach, enhancing its curriculum with an “experiential learning” component and complementary course work pertaining to other related disciplines. A new educational track within the major makes available a graduate certificate in Judaic Studies and a certificate in Religious Studies. Since 2008, Judaic Studies has become a Taft Department and recruited 12 new UC faculty affiliates, resulting in a diversified pool of students and tripled enrollment from 800 to 2,400 students.
The department has also capitalized on its proximity to two prominent sources of Judaic enrichment in the Cincinnati community, including both the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) and the world-famous American Jewish Archives. Collaboration through experiential learning and joint courses has created unmatched learning opportunities for UC students. More recently, Judaic Studies has also initiated partnerships with local Jewish high schools to help students earn college credit for their work.
The Kim and Gary Heiman Family Foundation gift to the Department of Judaic Studies supports the $1 billion Proudly Cincinnati campaign. To learn more about the Department of Judaic Studies and how you can support its efforts, visit www.artsci.uc.edu/judaic.
# # #
About the University of Cincinnati
Ranked by the National Science Foundation among the top 20 public, research universities in the United States, the University of Cincinnati is the region’s largest employer, with a diverse student population of more than 39,000. UC's faculty has distinguished themselves worldwide for their creative teaching and research, including members of the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine and winners of Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prizes. The University’s 15 Colleges set the foundation for a university dedicated to undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, experience-based learning, and research. U.S. News has described UC as one of 15 “up and coming” universities and Forbes Magazine named UC one of the world’s most beautiful campuses.
About the University of Cincinnati Foundation
The University of Cincinnati Foundation is leading Proudly Cincinnati: Tower of Strength, Rock of Truth, the University’s most ambitious campaign in history, supporting the vision for UC to become one of the finest research universities in the United States. Proudly Cincinnati’s goal is to raise $1 billion by 2013. To date, approximately $650 million has been raised for scholarships, innovative teaching and groundbreaking research. For more information about the Proudly Cincinnati campaign, visit www.proudlycincinnati.org.
Lauren Boettcher, UC Foundation