Leah Golberstein, P'06, Boosts Academic Innovation

When Leah Golberstein’s son, Rafi (short for Raphael), was a student at Ithaca College, her visits to campus always seemed to include spending time with his professors. As Leah, a former faculty member at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, soon discovered, when Rafi’s teachers learned that one of his parents would be on campus, they made themselves available to meet with her. It was clear to Leah that “the level of involvement faculty have with their students is exceptional. No student is just a number.”

Through Rafi’s involvement as a resident assistant, Hillel board member, and student trustee on the IC Board of Trustees, as well as his activities with student government and the Park School, Leah was aware of the opportunities her son was given to develop and mature, both in and out of the classroom.

“Mostly, I fell in love with Ithaca College,” she says, “and the dedication to teaching.” During Rafi’s tenure as student trustee, Leah also met President Peggy R. Williams, and she was impressed by what a strong role model Williams is. She was also inspired by the dedication of Shelley Semmler, vice president for institutional advancement; Craig Evans ’84, associate vice president for institutional advancement (see story); and Park School dean Dianne Lynch. “With such capable and dedicated administrators and teachers, I wanted to know how I could help them,” she says.

Following Rafi’s graduation in 2006, Leah wanted to continue to support the College and, specifically, the Jewish studies program. Last October she established the Golberstein Jewish Studies Travel Endowment. This award grants $1,250 to Ithaca College students minoring in Jewish studies who want to broaden their understanding of the history and survival of the Jewish people through formal study. Students are encouraged to visit communities in Europe that have historic significance to Jews.

“Travel enables students to challenge themselves and their personal world in a powerful way. When it is combined with study, it can revolutionize a student’s life,” Leah says. “I wanted to make that opportunity available for Ithaca College students.”


You, like Leah Golberstein, can support academic innovation at Ithaca College and make a world of difference in students’ lives. Visit and click on “Campaign Priorities” at the left.