Syracuse University Magazine

Celebrating the Lubin Legacy


For 50 years, the Lubin House has served as a center for SU activities in New York City

By Amy Speach

When Joseph I. Lubin first visited Syracuse University with his daughter, Ann, for her admissions interview in 1944, it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship with the then Chancellor, William Pearson Tolley. Also, that day signified the start of an enduring relationship between Joseph Lubin and the University—a bond that led to him becoming an SU Life Trustee and one that has remained strong across four generations of the Lubin family.

A New York philanthropist who grew from poverty to become a renowned tax expert, real estate investor, and chairman of Pepsi-Cola, Joseph Lubin contributed generously to the University in many ways throughout the years, including establishing the Lubin-Tolley Book Fund, supporting the construction of Manley Field House and renovations to Hendricks Chapel, as well as funding scholarships. Perhaps he is best remembered for donating the Manhattan structure that bears his name and serves as SU’s headquarters in New York City. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that facility. The Joseph I. Lubin House was dedicated in 1965. “My father believed that if you were an impoverished kid but you received a good education, then you could become anything you wanted. He himself went to school 13 years at night to become a lawyer, accountant, and business school graduate,” says his daughter, Barbara Goldsmith, acclaimed author, journalist, and philanthropist, who received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University in 1981. Her daughter, Alice Goldsmith Elgart ’80, is an SU alumna. She says, “Syracuse was among my grandfather’s philanthropies of which he was most proud. Education was his first priority.”

Situated on East 61st Street in Manhattan among such iconic landmarks as Central Park and The Pierre Hotel, Lubin House is a hub for the University’s relationships and operations in New York City. Originally envisioned primarily as an alumni center, today it operates as a multipurpose satellite, hosting some 400 events each year and catering to more than 57,000 alumni in the New York City metro area. A second adjoining building that Joseph Lubin donated has been amalgamated with the first. It contains office space for a full-time staff of approximately 20 professionals and provides overnight accommodations to University employees and faculty with business in the city.

Lubin House is home to a regional admissions office that offers workshops and information sessions for prospective students and their families and provides space for admissions interviews with local applicants. Additionally, SU students take part in special programs at Lubin House, meeting with alumni and other professionals in their fields at career development and placement events. “The house itself is just beautiful,” says Joseph Lubin’s granddaughter, Wendy H. Cohen ’70, H’02, a Syracuse University Life Trustee. She is the daughter of the late Ann Lubin Goldstein ’48 and Honorary Trustee Alfred R. Goldstein, who received an honorary degree from the University in 1985. Their contributions to SU include the naming and donation of the Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center, the Goldstein Student Center on South Campus, and the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center, as well as a number of initiatives named for Joseph Lubin, including establishing the Joseph I. Lubin School of Accounting in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. “For many years, the University had use of only one part of the house, and they maintained the integrity of what that looked like—the elegance that still remains today, while the other side is more modern and practical. It’s a nice combination,” says Wendy Cohen, whose brothers, Richard Goldstein ’79 and Steven Goldstein G’76, and daughter, Heather Cohen Sugarman ’02, are also Syracuse alumni.

Another vital aspect of the offerings at Lubin House is the Louise and Bernard Palitz Art Gallery. Located on the building’s second floor, this extension of SUArt Galleries allows the University to present its cultural exhibitions in New York City. Opened in 2003, the gallery hosts several exhibitions each year, including a major show each fall and spring that has displayed the work of such artists as Milton Avery, Winslow Homer, and Michelangelo. In April, the gallery presented The Lubin Legacy: Celebrating 50 Years at Lubin House, an exhibition honoring the memory of Joseph I. Lubin and featuring materials from SU Archives as well as the Lubin family’s personal collection. “For me, Lubin House is a constant reminder of the wonderful things that both my grandparents—not only Joe Lubin, but also Evelyn Lubin—have done,” Wendy Cohen says. “I hope they set an example for others of being appreciative and, when possible, giving back to things in their lives that have made them who they are.”


Joseph I. Lubin, circa 1940, grew up in poverty in New York City’s Lower East Side. He was the youngest child in his family (pictured with his sister, Francis, and brother, Morris, below), and rose to prominence in the business world, believing in the power of education. 



Today, Lubin House, which Joseph Lubin donated to SU, serves as a multipurpose facility, proudly flying an Orange flag. Among its features are the Louise and Bernard Palitz Art Gallery.