Lehigh holds a strong institutional commitment to providing high-quality, diverse intellectual experiences for our students. So does Susan Beckerman. Instrumental in fundraising for the Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Jewish Studies, Susan was passionate in her efforts to attract benefactors to support this meaningful endeavor. The Berman Center opened in 1984 and offers an impressive comprehensive program in Jewish Studies at Lehigh University.
Through her longtime generosity, Susan continues to greatly enhance the academic, cultural, and programmatic offerings of the Berman Center, the student-run Hillel Society, and Lehigh University. In honor of her late husband, Howard Ballenzweig ’65, Susan created the Howard Ballenzweig ’65 Endowment Fund to develop new programs that enrich the Berman Center’s educational mission. For almost a decade, she supported the Beckerman Writer-in-Residence adjunct faculty position that brought different aspects of Jewish literature and writing to the classroom and Jewish writers to Lehigh’s campus.
Howard Ballenzweig graduated from Lehigh with a bachelor of arts degree in finance. He worked for Price Waterhouse and was vice president and controller at Culbro Corporation before going into the real estate business. He was a real estate investor who formed R & R Management Services. As an alumnus, he was a Lehigh University phonathon volunteer for six years. Howard passed away on November 22, 1996.
Susan is a graduate of Skidmore College with a bachelor of arts degree in English literature. She also earned an M.B.A. degree in accounting from Baruch College. In 2002, Skidmore awarded Susan the Outstanding Service Award for her continued dedication. She has served in many PTA and fundraising capacities for a variety of organizations including the Ethical Culture School, Hunter College High School, and West End Synagogue. Susan is a member of Skidmore’s Board of Trustees, chairing the Student Life Committee; a member of the Board of Overseers of Bard College at Simon’s Rock; a vice-chair of the Board of Governors at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; and a trustee of Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado.
Susan met Howard while on the audit staff of Price Waterhouse. After their marriage, she worked for consulting firms as a business analyst specializing in computerized recordkeeping for the securities industry, eventually developing a practice as a self-employed consultant to banks and securities firms. After Howard’s death, she continued to operate the real estate business until the properties were sold.
Susan lives in New York, New York. Her daughter, Ruth Ballenzweig, teaches English at a public high school in Brooklyn.