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Fordham Mourns Philanthropist and Benefactor


Fordham University mourns the death of Robert Austin Bendheim, a generous benefactor of the University and former member of its Board of Trustees.

Bendheim, president of the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and former chairman of M. Lowenstein Corp., served on the Fordham University Board of Trustees from 1976 to 1982 and from 1983 to 1989. A 1937 graduate of Princeton University, he was awarded an honorary degree from Fordham in 1966.

“Fordham has lost a great friend,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University. “Robert Bendheim was a true benefactor, having shared with us not just his time and financial resources, but his gentle heart. We will sorely miss him, as will all those who care about education, medicine and child welfare.”

Since 1984, the Lowenstein Foundation has given more than $1 million to the University, supporting the Academy Project, the NYC Superintendents Network and the Early Childhood Literacy Project in the Graduate School of Education. In 1996, the foundation established the Robert Bendheim Chair in Economic and Financial Policy at Fordham’s Graduate School of Business. The foundation provides funding for medical research, higher education and youth programs.

M. Lowenstein Corp. was founded by Bendheim’s grandfather, Leon Lowenstein, in the 1920s. The elder Lowenstein donated nearly $1.8 million to Fordham between 1956 and 1971 to establish the Leon Lowenstein Center at the University’s Lincoln Center campus.

The Lowenstein firm was once the largest printer of fabrics in the country. Bendheim joined the company in 1939, was named director and secretary in 1946, and moved up in rank to become president in 1964 and chief executive in 1970.  He served as chairman of the board from 1972 to1985. When the company was purchased by Spring Industries in 1984, Bendheim retired, and in 1986, he became president of the Lowenstein Foundation.

Bendheim is survived by his wife, Jane, his two daughters by a previous marriage, Lynn Bendheim Thoman and Kim Bendheim, his step-daughter, Josephine Poole, his brother, John M Bendheim of Scarsdale, N.Y., and four grandchildren.


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