Ruth Shapiro, beloved benefactor, dies at 95
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 02:10
Ruth Shapiro, one of the most influential donors in Brandeis’ history, died on Sunday at the age of 95, according to a BrandeisNOW press release.
Over the last 50 years, she and her husband Carl “helped transform the university into a leader in American higher education,” according to the release.
Shapiro’s name is on two of the newest and most impressive buildings on campus, the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Admissions Center and the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Campus Center, which were completed in 2009 and 2002, respectively. Her husband’s is also honored on the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, which was also completed in 2009.
“Carl and Ruth Shapiro have been instrumental in helping Brandeis become the institution that our founders envisioned in 1948,” said University President Frederick Lawrence in the release. “May her memory ever be a blessing.”
Ruth was born in Chelsea, MA. in 1917, according to an article from the Palm Beach Daily News. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1937, where she majored in music, and “committed herself to supporting underserved communities and programs, and to helping those in need,” according to the release.
“She was as wonderfully gentle, caring person," said former University President Jehuda Reinharz in an interview with the Justice. "She was ... always waiting to be helpful, always interested in every aspect of Brandeis.”
“Ruth and Carl were an amazing team, and they believed in the unique mission of Brandeis and its special place among American universities,” said Nancy Winship, senior vice president of institutional advancement, in the release. “Ruth was an elegant woman who was the quiet strength of the family. She was deeply knowledgeable about the arts and music. We will all miss her.”
The Shapiros made their first donation, of $10, to Brandeis in 1950.
The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation has also given to numerous organizations in Boston and Palm Beach, Fla., the two cities where they were residents. The Boston organizations include hospitals, such as Brigham and Women’s, and arts institutes, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Fine Arts and WGBH, a public television station in Boston.
“[The Shapiros] are certainly among the very largest donors that Brandeis has ever had,” said Reinharz.
Shapiro leaves behind her husband of 73 years, her brother, three daughters, three son-in-laws, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.