Syracuse University Magazine

Albert Maysles '49

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Albert Maysles, a pioneering documentary filmmaker, died on March 5, 2015, at his home in Manhattan. He was 88. A graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, Maysles was not one for stealing the spotlight, although much of his career was spent filming those who reveled in it.

Along with his late brother, David, he is remembered as a pioneer of direct cinema—a type of filmmaking devoid of scripts, sets, interviews, or narration. Maysles’s more than 50 films include some of the most iconic in documentary history: What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A. (1964); Salesman (1969); Gimme Shelter (1970); and Grey Gardens (1975), which was later adapted into a Broadway musical and a made-for-TV movie. Almost no one was too famous—or infamous—to escape Maysles’s keen eye. His subjects ranged from the ordinary, such as a traveling Bible salesman, to the glamorous, including actor Orson Welles, artist Salvador Dali, and boxer Muhammad Ali.

Born in Boston to Jewish immigrants, Maysles briefly served in the U.S. Army before earning degrees in psychology from Syracuse and Boston universities. Initially, he worked as a teacher, but the chance to travel to Russia, at the height of the Cold War, to make a documentary about mental hospitals proved life-changing.

“My life has been like the flight of a bird,” Maysles told a packed room at Manhattan’s St. Regis Hotel, where he was presented in 2006 with the George Arents Pioneer Medal, the University’s highest honor bestowed on alumni (now known as the Arents Award). “It’s been graced with great, great luck and uncertainty and adventure.”


 

Jack W. Milton '51

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Jack W. Milton, a life member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees and a member of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management Advisory Committee, passed away in Concord, Massachusetts, on February 28, 2015. He was 86.

After graduating with a degree in business administration and serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Milton joined his father’s Caterpillar dealership as a salesman. When his father died in 1956, Milton sold his interest in the family business and became manager for Perkins Machinery Company. He then went on to become co-owner of Jordan-Milton Machinery Company. In 1990, Milton became chairman and CEO of Southworth-Milton Machinery, a privately owned heavy equipment dealer located in Massachusetts. In 2004, he acquired the Northeast dealership for Caterpillar machinery and power systems, and the company was renamed Milton CAT.

In addition to receiving a business education, Milton met his wife-to-be, Laura Hanhausen Milton ’51, at a Hendricks Chapel convocation on their first day at SU. Over the years the Miltons generously supported their alma mater. Most notably, they provided a major gift for construction of the school of management building, established the Laura H. Milton Freshman Lecture in the College of Arts and Sciences, and made a naming gift to build the atrium in the Life Sciences Complex. Asked why he remained so closely connected with SU, Milton cited the impact the University made on his ability to succeed in business and in life.

 

 


Faith Seidenberg '44, L'54

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Faith April Seidenberg, attorney and civil rights activist, died January 16, 2015, at her home in Syracuse. She was 91. Seidenberg graduated in 1954 as one of only two women in her Syracuse University College of Law class.

She began her career as a public defender and fought successfully for the rights of juveniles held without representation in Syracuse. In 1963, she joined volunteer lawyers in the South who were defending civil rights workers campaigning for voter registration in what became known as Freedom Summer. In 1970, Seidenberg, who had been a national vice president of the National Organization for Women, walked into the legendary century-old Manhattan bar McSorley’s, which only served men. She was refused service and ushered quickly out into the street. Eventually, she had the last word—changing public accommodations law after winning the case in federal district court.

Seidenberg’s activities on a national stage earned her a position on the Executive Board of the American Civil Liberties Union, establishing the Women’s Legal Defense Fund of the ACLU.