Honoring a legacy
In November 2000, John A. Schiffman, a member of the Columbia College Board of Trustees, gave a gift of historic proportions to the college.
In honor of his late wife, Althea, a 1941 graduate of Christian College, member of the board from 1983 to 1987 and Distinguished Alumna ’85, Schiffman gave $1.5 million — the single largest contribution by a living donor at that time.
Schiffman made his gift “because of my late wife’s affection and fondness for the college and because of the historical roots of the college as an institution affiliated by covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),” he said. “It is my hope that Columbia College will become a force in carrying forward the message to students that integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion are as important as intellect.”
Columbia College mourned the loss of Schiffman when he died August 5, 2015, in St. Louis, Missouri, where he resided. He was 99. Former Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple stated, “Mr. Schiffman was passionate not only about higher education, but the roles of ethics, religion and moral development as part of an individual’s education. He will truly be missed.”
In fulfillment of Schiffman’s charge, the Schiffman Ethics in Society lecture series and the Lecture in Religious Studies series were created. The Lecture in Religious Studies draws noted scholars to the college to lecture on the influence of religion in politics, culture and education. Each year, nationally and internationally renowned scholars speak to students, faculty, staff and members of the community about how religion has shaped and continues to shape major issues of our day.