Over the years, Elliot Mayrock ’73 has established a substantial philanthropic legacy at Ithaca College in the name of the Mayrock family. Most recently, he made a significant contribution to the new School of Business building, and in recognition of his gift, a classroom in a prominent location will be dedicated to his parents, Harry and Marjorie Fortunoff Mayrock.
The elder Mayrocks were accomplished businesspeople, and Elliot feels that celebrating the memory of his parents in the new business school building is an appropriate gesture. The Mayrock family had a prominent role in creating the Fortunoff company, a distinctive retail operation in the New York City area.
After graduating from Ithaca, Elliot joined the Fortunoff management team; he was responsible for developing the company’s successful home furnishings business. His duties led him around the globe in search of unique products. He made the first of many visits to China in 1979 and began building relationships with the Chinese community. He has watched growth and development transform Asia and now thinks the region is ready to become a dominant world leader.
Soon Elliot and his wife, Alecia, and their two children will embark on an extended trip to China. “We may stay nine months to a year,” he said. “We want our children to experience the culture firsthand, so when they grow up they will have an intrinsic understanding of it, no matter what they choose to do with their lives.”
Elliot Mayrock’s focus on the future is based on a solid understanding of the past. He graduated with honors in history. “I learned so much at Ithaca,” he said. “I was deeply touched by wonderful people like [history professors] Paul McBride and Joe Tempesta. Ithaca also gave me my first exposure to international studies, in a course taught by Jack Pavia.”
Elliot’s early gifts to the College established learning programs devoted to history and honored the memory of his parents. In 1979 he set up the Marjorie Fortunoff Mayrock Memorial Lecture series, a vibrant program that has brought many notable historians, including Walter LaFeber, to campus. Later he created the Harry Mayrock Memorial Award, also devoted to the study of history, and in 1997 he endowed the Elliot Mayrock ’73 History Scholarship to help deserving students. His significant gift to the business school continues his remarkable philanthropic legacy at his alma mater.