Seymour Milstein (1920-2001)
Vivian Leiner Milstein
Seymour Milstein, who passed away on October 2, 2001 and his wife, Vivian, have been prominent philanthropists both in the United States and abroad. Seymour Milstein served as Chairman of Presbyterian Hospital for eight years. Under his leadership, the Hospital’s financial stability was restored as well as its national reputation for excellence. The Milstein Foundation gave the lead gift to build the Milstein Hospital Building at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
In addition, Seymour Milstein was committed to endowing breakthroughs in scientific research. A pioneer in the support of Interferon research, he established the Milstein Award, considered a “pinnacle of scientific achievement,” the award is distributed by the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research to an “individual who has made an outstanding contribution…in the basic or clinical field.” Interferon is now being used effectively to treat multiple sclerosis and hepatitis C.
Other beneficiaries of the Milsteins’ largesse include Columbia University, professorships in medicine and surgery, the Metropolitan Opera, The American Jewish Committee, and UJA. In addition, the Milsteins were founding members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Since Seymour’s death, his wife Vivian has continued the Milstein philanthropic tradition. She has been particularly active with specific interest in the fields of child development, health care and the arts. She is a board member of the Child Development Center, a division of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, and the American Jewish Committee Women’s Campaign Board. Most recently, she has supported special programs of Channel 13 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she is currently funding a Museum series entitled “The Sound of Broadway: 50 Years Ago.” She also serves as a trustee of a number of family foundations. Mrs. Milstein is a former member of the board of the New York City Opera, and is presently a board member of the New York Metropolitan Opera.
Seymour Milstein and Vivian Leiner were married in 1945 and have two children, Constance and Philip.