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The Best of Brooklyn Annual Gala

Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 6 p.m.

The Liberty Warehouse

260 Conover Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

The Brooklyn College Foundation Honors

Bernard H. ’62 and
Ethel B. Garil

Philanthropists and Champions of Brooklyn College

Best of Brooklyn Awardees

Bernard H. ’62 and Ethel B. Garil

Philanthropists and Champions of Brooklyn College

Bernie Garil is a longtime supporter of Brooklyn College. He has served on the board of the Brooklyn College Foundation since 1997, holding several positions over the years, including treasurer, chair of both the Audit and Investment committees, and chair of the 1999 Campaign for Students. Ethel, a graduate of Midwood High School and Boston University, has been at his side throughout, supporting the work of the foundation and the college.

When Bernie earned his B.S. in accounting in 1962, his long-term goal was to someday work at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. At his commencement, Manny Cohen ’33, an SEC commissioner and trustee of the Brooklyn College Foundation, who was receiving an alumni award that day, learned of Bernie’s interest and promptly offered him a job. Bernie would spend the next nine years at the SEC learning from Manny, who became his trusted mentor. It was with the encouragement of another future Brooklyn College Foundation trustee, Don Kramer ’58, that he joined Oppenheimer & Co. in 1971, where he would work for the next 30 years. Bernie currently serves on the board of the OFI Global Trust Company and the boards of mutual funds managed by UBS.

Bernie and Ethel dedicated their lives to the fight against cancer after losing their daughter, Stacey, to breast cancer and son, Michael, to the long-term side effects of treatment for leukemia. The Garils went on to establish several programs in honor of their children, including internships at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Johns Hopkins University for Brooklyn College students intent on careers in cancer research; a breast cancer resource library for patients at Columbia Presbyterian; and research programs at Dana-Farber and Johns Hopkins. They are longtime supporters of the Brooklyn College Global Medical Brigades, which enables students to spend a week each year bringing medical care to some of the world’s most underserved communities. Bernie has been active in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society since 1975 and currently serves as a member of its national board. Ethel has served on the boards of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and Women at Risk, and has been one of the nation’s largest fundraisers for Play for P.I.N.K.

Brooklyn College presented Bernie with a Presidential Medal in 2011, and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn College Alumni Association in 2017; he was also the first recipient of the Miracle Maker Leadership Award from Mutual Funds Against Cancer. In 2016, Bernie and Ethel were jointly honored with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Vision for Life Award.


Best of Brooklyn Co-Chairs

Don Kramer ’58

Chairman and CEO, ILS Capital Management

Donald Kramer, chairman and CEO of ILS Capital Management, has a long history of participation in the insurance and reinsurance business. He was the founder and CEO of several successful reinsurance companies in both the United States and Bermuda. He also leads several nonprofit organizations, including the American Ballet Theatre in New York, where he was chairman from 2011 to 2016; the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda; and Bermuda First, a think tank dedicated to providing thoughtful insight into Bermuda’s society and economy. Kramer earned an M.B.A. from New York University, and both a B.A. in economics and an honorary doctorate in humanities from Brooklyn College. He is also a charted financial analyst. He has been a trustee of the Brooklyn College Foundation for more than three decades. In 2011, Kramer received The Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour of the British Empire for both his work and philanthropy in Bermuda. Most recently, he received the Free Enterprise Award from the Insurance Federation of New York, Inc.


Leonard Merrill Kurz

Director, President, Forest Creatures Entertainment
Director, President, Forest Creatures Foundation
Director, Treasurer, Kurz Family Foundation

Leonard Kurz was born in Brooklyn and later moved to Rockland County, New York. Kurz serves as a director and officer of the Kurz Family Foundation and is a trustee of the Brooklyn College Foundation. He is the president and creative force of Forest Creatures Entertainment, a motion picture, television, and new media production company, and the president of Forest Creatures Foundation, a public charity that is producing INPUT 2018 (the International Public Television Conference) in Brooklyn from April 30 to May 4. He played a significant role in establishing two endowed professorships at Brooklyn College—the Herbert Kurz Chair in Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties and the Herbert Kurz Chair of Finance and Risk Management—as well as the program that assists black and Latino male Brooklyn College students. Through Forest Creatures Entertainment he produced Kitka & Davka in Concert: Old and New World Jewish Music, which has been broadcast extensively on the PBS network. He was a founding director (United States board) of the WE (formerly Free the Children), an international organization with the unique mission of creating a global network of children helping children through education. Kurz is in production of a feature-length documentary on this organization: The WE Film. He is a co-producer of Maangamizi: The Ancient One (the first film from Tanzania to be considered for an Academy Award) and has been a script reader for Francis Ford Coppola. Kurz is a founding member of the SUNY Chancellor’s Society and has received awards for his philanthropic work and an honorary degree from SUNY Rockland (Rockland Community College) in 2017. He graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in history and from Stanford University with an M.A. in film and television production.


Evan Silverstein ’76

Chair, Brooklyn College Foundation

Evan Silverstein is the chair of the Brooklyn College Foundation Board of Trustees. He has served on the board of the foundation since 2009 and was most recently its treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee. Silverstein graduated from Brooklyn College in summer 1975 but began his 30-year Wall Street career a few months earlier as an assistant analyst at Drexel Burnham, an opportunity that came directly as a result of a Brooklyn College internship. He left Drexel in 1979 to take a senior analyst position at another firm and eventually transitioned into money management, managing a hedge fund as part of the Bass Brothers Enterprises family office and as a general partner and head portfolio manager at SILCAP LLC, a market-neutral hedge fund with a focus on utilities and energy companies. Considered an expert in his field, he has testified before Congress and other federal entities numerous times over the years. He retired from the investment field in 2005 and has served on the boards of directors of a succession of energy-related companies. He is currently a member of NRG Energy’s board, where he chairs the Risk and Finance Committee. Silverstein and his wife, Renee, also a Brooklyn College graduate (Class of 1974), feel a keen sense of commitment to the college and an affinity with many students who, like themselves, grew up in lower–middle-class households. The Silversteins have three married children and four granddaughters.


Reception — 6 p.m.

Program — 7 p.m.
The Brooklyn College Foundation will present the Best of Brooklyn Award to Bernard H. ’62 and Ethel B. Garil at a lively evening of cocktails, raffle prizes, and dinner.

Cocktail Attire

Photo Gallery

2018 Best of Brooklyn dinner journal and program.

2018 Best of Brooklyn awardees Ethel and Bernie Garil ‘62 with President Anderson

Bernie and Ethel Garil accepting their Best of Brooklyn Award from President Michelle Anderson.

The 2018 Best of Brooklyn Award, featuring the famed Coney Island Parachute Jump.

Robert Goodman, Bernie and Ethel Garil, President Michelle Anderson, Madelyn and Arthur Goodman, Dr. Stephen Sallan and Professor of Chemistry Maria Contel.

Herbert Hoover–carved centerpiece of Brooklyn College's LaGuardia Hall.

The Garils and friends from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (from left): L&LS board member Jim Beck, Liz Copley, CFO Rosemarie Loffredo, Philanthropy Director Irv Geffen '75, National Chairman of the Beat AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) Campaign Michael Copley, board members Bill Behnke and Alice O'Rourke, and L&LS President and CEO Dr. Louis J. DeGennaro.

Ella Weiss '62, M.S.Ed. '65, president of the Brooklyn College Alumni Association; Jeffrey Sigler '92, M.S.Ed. '95, past president of the BCAA and the emcee for the evening's festivities; and President Michelle Anderson.

Best of Brooklyn Co-chair Evan Silverstein '76, Kathryn Galitz, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Todd Galitz, President Michelle Anderson, and Renee Silverstein '74.

Associate Professor Ajana Saxena, trustee Marge Magner '69, Magner Career Center Director Natalia Guarin-Klein, Octavia Woodroffe, Victoria Hernandez, Shivraj Bhoj, Israel Villa, and Natalie Miolan.

Trustee Doris Bien-Aime, Maria Basic '92, trustee Ante Basic '90, Valeriya Zelenyak '18, and Catherine Braxton.

Herbert Hoover–carved centerpiece of the Coney Island Parachute Jump.

Trustee Florence Cohen Rosen ’59 and Robert Rosen with President Anderson

Longtime Garil family friend Dr. Stephen Sallan, professor, Pediatrics, at Harvard Medical School, and the Quick Family Chair, Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Doris and former Brooklyn College Foundation chair (and 2015 Best of Brooklyn Honoree) Edwin Cohen '62, and President Michelle Anderson.

Brooklyn College Foundation trustee Pawel Walczuk '10 is elated to win a Brooklyn College LaGuardia Hall Tower, carved by artist Herbert Hoover.

President Michelle Anderson and trustee Leonard Kurz.

Tenor saxophonist Ben Redzovic '19 solos with the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music Big Band.

Ellen and Trustee Murray ’57 Koppelman, the 2004 Best of Brooklyn awardee, with President Anderson

Herbert Hoover–carved centerpiece of the iconic KenTile sign that once stood over the Gowanus Canal.

President Michelle Anderson and 2013 Best of Brooklyn honoree Stu Kessler '51.

Ethel and Bernie Garil with past recipients of the Stacey Garil Womack and Michael Garil Internships (from left): Dr. Michael A. Broker '13, Dr. Joseph A. Gotesman '13, Dr. Mustafa Ghanem '13, Akreeti Maskey '14, Dr. Matthew C. Lee '13, Dr. Sun Mei Liu '12, Medina Mishiyeva '16, Martin John '17, Jessica Andersen, and Dr. Pranitha Prabhu '15.

Brooklyn College Foundation trustee Anthony Castellanos '85 and his wife, Dr. Josephine Grima, and Edwin Cohen '62.

Dean Willie Hopkins of the Murray Koppelman School of Business and Dean April Bedford of the School of Education.

Thelma '54 and Myron '52 Kandel, trustee of the Brooklyn College Foundation and 2003 Best of Brooklyn honoree.

Evelyn Melgar '10 and her husband, trustee Daniel Menendez '08, and Magner Career Center director Natalia Guarin-Klein.

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Todd Galitz, Associate Director of Major Gifts, Brooklyn College Foundation, Bronwyn Cunningham, and Marshall G. Kaplan '49.

Kenneth Gould, acting dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Ron Schweiger '70, Brooklyn borough historian.

Edwin '62 and Doris Cohen, and Jeffrey '92, M.S.Ed. '95 and Raquel Maysonet-Sigler, M.S.Ed. '13.

2018 Best of Brooklyn honorees Ethel and Bernard '62 Garil.

Pianist Yi-Hsuan Chi '14, a student in the Master of Music in Global and Contemporary Jazz Studies Program, leads the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music Big Band.

A table featuring a Herbert Hoover–carved centerpiece of the Grand Army Plaza memorial arch.

Master of Ceremonies Jeffrey Sigler '92, M.S.Ed. '95 with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams' Proclamation honoring Bernard and Ethel Garil.

Trustees Daniel Menendez '08, Evelyn Melgar '10, Dr. Josephine Grima, and trustee Anthony Castellanos '85.

A raffle of items generously donated to the Brooklyn College Foundation concluded the evening.

The Garils and three of the interns they have supported: Medina Mishiyeva '16, Akreeti Maskey '14, and Dr. Sun Mei Liu '12.

Trustee and Best of Brooklyn Co-chair Leonard Kurz with a model of the late, lamented KenTile sign by artist Herbert Hoover.

Brooklyn College Foundation trustees Sam Beller '59 and 2013 Best of Brooklyn honoree Stu Kessler '51, and former Brooklyn College President Christoph Kimmich.

Associate Professor of Biology Anjana Saxena, Brooklyn College Foundation trustee Pawel Walczuk '10, and Evelyn Melgar '10.

Brooklyn College Vice President for Institutional Advancement Todd Galitz and President Michelle Anderson.

Video Presentations

Video Presentations



Donald Kramer '58
Evan '76 and Renee '74 Silverstein


Bernard H. '62 and Ethel Garil
Leonard Merrill Kurz


Anthony Castellanos ’85
Frank Lavadera ’76
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Friends and Board Colleagues of Bernie & Ethel
Marge Magner '69
Robert A. and Florence Cohen '59 Rosen
Carol '61 and Larry Zicklin


Ante '90 and Maria '92 Basic
James T. Fantaci '68
Murray '57 and Ellen Koppelman
Steiner Studios


Sam E. '59 and Eva R. Beller
Edwin H. '62 and Doris Cohen
Stuart H. Coleman
Lorraine Levy Laighold '64
Burt and Ruth Leibert
Proskauer Rose LLP
Victor and Diane Ugolyn


Alltype Marketing
Brooklyn College Alumni Association
Don '59 and Maggie Buchwald
Michael and Donna Brennan
Janice Gilligan and Michael Boro
Robert and Melanie Cassandro
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Honey and Ira Edell
Victor and Dolores Hamati
Marc and Deborra Howard
Myron '52 and Thelma '54 Kandel
Paula and Joseph Kasell
Stuart '50 and Isabel Kessler
Christoph and Flora Kimmich
Kingsborough Community College
Martin and Mona Klein
Larry and Janet Lefkowitz
MCR, Inc.
Daniel Menendez '09 and Evelyn Melgar '10
OFI Global Trust Company
Barry and Susan Paley
Edward and Paula Peck
Ruth and Marvin Price
Harriet and Peter Rasmussen
RVK, Inc.
Martin '63 and Barbara '63 Sass
Barbara and Richard Teiman
Dede and Michael Thea
Joel and Ellen Walker
Merle and Richard Weidenbaum
Steven Womack
Peter Wright


Marilyn Acard
Nathan and Iris Adler
Leonard Adelman
Daniel Baker ’55
Mervin Baranick 
Seth and Rory Batzar
Judith Bernstein
Stephen M. Bernstein
Victor Blair
Susan Blatt
Dionne Bobb
Harriet L. Brathwaite '59
Fredda Butowsky
Mark Carver
Phyllis Citron
Louis Di Meglio '14
Susan and Edward Dratch
Honey and Ira Edell
Eleanor W. Fischer '93
Elaine and Harold Friedland
Bonnie and Bruce Gaines
Todd Michael Galitz and Kathryn Calley Galitz
Carl Goldman
Madelyn and Arthur Goodman
Renee L. Goodman
Robert Goodman
Karen L. Gould and Richard M. Simon
Philip and Carole Gruber
Herbert Herling
Stuart and Myra Herz
Ron Ingber
Sharon and Don Kabat
Gerald Kaufman
Debbie and Jimmy Krasnow
Barbara and Matthew Kroin
Joan and Ken Lapatine
Susan and Marvin Lebow
Beth Farryn Levine
Arlene Lichterman ’53
Janet and Ed Lublin
McCanliss & Early, LLP
Marty '70 and Jamie Markowitz
Matthew Maryles
Jay Mechutan
Paul and Carol Miller
Robert and Andrea Miller
Charlotte and Larry Milowitz
Milga '70 and Antonio '68 Nadal
Howard Novick
Marjorie Oberlander
Frankie and Jay Oberst
Alan and Martha Ostrowitz
Carol and Lou Rippner
Stuart and Joyce Robbins
Lee Rosen
Steven and Candice Rosen
Sharon and Larry Saltzman
Martin P. '56 and Marla B. Hasten '87 Schreibman
Ron '70 and Phyllis Shanken '69 Schweiger
Ellen Spin '60
Roberta and Phil Strasburg
Steven and Lorrie Strauss
Sharon Styler
Alan Vituli
Pawel Walczuk '10
Roberta Rose Wallach '53
Michael '61 and Ella '62 Weiss
Keith Weller
Shimon Wolf
Frances and Richard Wolff
Marcia E. Zisselman

Special thanks to the supporters of tonight’s Raffle

Sarah Benson '04
Edwin H. '62 and Doris Cohen
Donald Kramer '58
Sidecar @ PJ Clarke’s

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