Written by Linda Portney Goldstein Friday, 08 July 2011 00:00
Local Businessman Bert Brodsky has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters by the City College of New York. During an interview in his Port Washington office, Mr. Brodsky said receiving the award, which is given for accomplishments in both business and philanthropy was, “One of the high points in my life. As a kid growing up in the Bronx who could even think of such a thing.”
Having founded more than eight successful business ventures, Mr. Brodsky’s acumen as a businessman is well-known; however, not many people are aware of his various philanthropic endeavors. He is chairman of Linder Assisted Living Facility and serves on the Board of Trustees at Gurwin Nursing Home in Huntington. He has also been generous in his support of Emory University, Port Washington Chabad, Port Jewish Center and his alma mater, City College.
Several years ago, in appreciation of the education he received while attending the Bronx High School of Science and City College, he endowed five scholarships for Bronx High School graduates pursuing the study of science at City College. At about the same time, he endowed a chair at City College in honor of the person who was assistant dean of students when he attended the school and to whom he owes a great debt of gratitude. He likes to tell the story of how the assistant dean gave him a second chance at the school after he flunked three straight semesters. At the time, Mr. Brodsky was majoring in science and promised the dean that if he would give him another chance as a business major, he would succeed. The dean agreed and Mr. Brodsky went on to graduate with majors in accounting and finance.
When asked how well his $18 per semester education prepared him for the competitive business world, he said, “I believe my experience was superior to that of many associates and even my own children all educated at private universities. I experienced a level of diversity that prepared me for real life and everyone worked really hard.” He also stressed that the mission of the city university is as valid today as it was when he attended. “They are committed to educating the children of first generation hard-working immigrants. The faces may look different but the mission is the same.”
Somewhat intimidated at the prospect of addressing 10,000 people, including other honorees such as Colin Powell, at the commencement on June 3, he finally came up with the message he wanted to impart: “Each graduate must eventually give back to the people coming after them.” He said that people like himself have made it possible for others to be educated at City College. He challenged the new graduates to do the same.