The late Gerald Gordon a two-time alumnus and eight-year member of the University's board of trustees had deep appreciation and affection for Cleveland State. He and his wife, Betty, supported CSU in many ways, including monetarily. She carried on that tradition after his death and even after her own.
First, Betty transferred funds from her IRA to support an alternative energy/wind tower project being conducted by Majid Rashidi, associate professor of mechanical engineering. She took advantage of the Pension Protection Act which allows individuals who have reached age 70½ to make a distribution directly from their IRA to a qualified charity, like Cleveland State.
"It was a painless way to support something that I firmly believe in," said Betty.
This was her second gift in support of Dr. Rashidi's research. The year prior, she donated funds after reading about his project in the newspaper. His lightweight spiral tower, which looks like a giant corkscrew, is designed to harness wind power from atop buildings in urban areas a breakthrough that complements existing wind towers and may help Northeast Ohio become a world leader in alternative energy development.
At the time, she said, "I am very enthusiastic about Dr. Rashidi's new way of harnessing wind energy and have been following his progress ever since reading that story."
Betty believed so strongly in private support for public higher education that she ensured her giving would last long past her lifetime. Before passing away in 2017, Betty set up a trust that recognized her CSU support and continued fulfilling her pledges.
"It's an absolute necessity," she said. "Schools can't do it on their own they need contributions from alumni and friends."
Through the years, gifts from Betty and Jerry established the Roberta Steinbacher-Mareyjoyce Green Endowed Scholarship in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, and support for the Viking basketball program.
Jerry, who passed away in May 2006, earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1971 after seven years as a parttime student, followed by a master's degree in urban studies in 1972.
He used his education to become a successful businessman; in 28 years with Sun Newspapers, he rose from circulation department employee to general manager, president and chief executive, chairman and co-owner, and substantially grew the newspaper chain.
He was appointed to the University's board of trustees in 1984 and served until 1992, and then was appointed to the Ohio Board of Regents. As chairman of the trustees' building and grounds committee, he oversaw construction of the Bert L. and Iris S. Wolstein Center, which includes the Gerald H. Gordon Conference Pavilion.
"Jerry had great appreciation for Cleveland State and was honored to serve on the board of trustees. I am happy to continue the support that we started together. I encourage others to do the same and especially to give through their IRA before the end of the year."