Home » News » Vanderbilt Hillel will celebrate Ben Schulman next month as he turns 100

Vanderbilt Hillel will celebrate Ben Schulman next month as he turns 100

Posted by on Monday, November 28, 2016 in News.

By Debby Wiston, Director of Operations

Vanderbilt Hillel will host a 100th birthday celebration the weekend of Jan. 19-22 for Ben Schulman, the benefactor who spearheaded the development of the university building that bears his name and is the center of Jewish life on the Vanderbilt campus.

Schulman, who lives now in San Diego, California, grew up in Nashville and graduated from Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering in 1938. An unstinting supporter of Vanderbilt Hillel, he provided both the funds and leadership that led to the construction in 2002 of the Ben Shulman Center for Jewish Life located across the street from Memorial Gymnasium. More recently he has underwritten the cost of the new Dor L’Dore Donor Wall that honors contributors to Vanderbilt Hillel.

“By providing the initial funding for our building, Ben forever changed the Jewish experience on campus,” said Hillel Executive Director Ari Dubin. “The community of Jewish students grew from just a few dozen to thousands in just over a decade, which meant not only was there an exponential increase in the number of students but also an incredible expansion in programming as well.”

Said Barbara Mayden, president of the Hillel board, “The Schulman Center is the heart of everything we do at Hillel.  It is Hillel’s home, our foundation, and has been the catalyst for the remarkable transformation and growth of the Jewish community at Vanderbilt.  We are thrilled to honor Ben on his 100th birthday and to celebrate with him just how far we have come since 2002.”

The Hillel celebration, “Thanks to Ben!” will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22 at the Student Life Center on Campus. The event will feature tributes to Schulman and recollections of Jewish life at Vanderbilt before and after construction of the Schulman Center. A kosher luncheon catered by Goldie Shepard will be served.  Tickets can be purchased from Vanderbilt Hillel and are available at three different levels, beginning at $100 and include listing in the commemorative birthday book.  Those unable to attend the event but wishing to place their names in the birthday book may do so for a $36 tax deductible contribution to VU Hillel.

In addition to the Sunday luncheon, Schulman, his family and friends will be honored at a number of other events throughout the weekend, including a Hillel Shabbat dinner and a celebration hosted by Vanderbilt Chancellor Nick Zeppos at his residence.

For more details, check the Hillel website at www.vuhillel.org.

Debby Wiston is director of operations at Vanderbilt Hillel.