Iris S. Wolstein, a dedicated philanthropist and community activist for many years, has helped transform the campus of Case Western Reserve University through the generous spirit she shared with her late husband, Bert. The university will recognize those efforts during its 2009 Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 17, with the President’s Award for Visionary Achievement.
In 2008, the Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Hall became the home of Case Western Reserve’s Office of Undergraduate Admission—or, as campus leaders describe it: “the front door of the University.” Built in 1910, the stately residence on Bellflower Road offers prospective students and their families a warm and welcoming space to begin their exploration of all Case Western Reserve.
The Wolsteins provided $1 million to renovate Wolstein Hall, as well as $1.5 million to endow a professorship in management design at the Weatherhead School of Management.
The couple also donated $25 million to Case Western Reserve and University Hospitals for the Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Research Building, a six-story structure where physicians and scientists seek answers to medicine’s most daunting questions worldwide.
Case Western Reserve University is not the only educational institution to benefit from the Wolstein’s generosity. The couple provided $1.5 million toward renovating stadium bell tower at The Ohio State University, where Iris had been a student. She also gave $6.25 million to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University in honor of her husband, a 1953 graduate of the law school. The money was used to renovate the law building in his name and also for student scholarships.
The Wolsteins’ support has reached into the community to such organizations as the United Cerebral Palsy, the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and the Arthritis Foundation. Her other charitable causes include The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
Iris has also launched Rainbow’s “Kids Kicking Cancer” to promote physical activity among young patients, and more recently gave an additional $1 million to the program in Bert’s memory. She also supported First Tee of Cleveland, and provided much of the funding for the Bert L. and Iris S. Learning Center at First Tee in Bert’s memory.
The couple has been honored at the State of Israel Prime Minister’s Dinner for their work in that nation. They established the “Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Dedication and Tree Planting Center” in Jerusalem, Israel; led a mission to Israel for Israel Bonds; and supported the Mount Scopus Accessibility Project at Israel’s Hebrew University, also named for them.
Iris maintains many business interests, such as her role as Chief Executive Officer of the Heritage Development Company, LLC. She also partners the Wolstein Group, Glenmoor Country Club in Canton, Ohio, and the Bertram Inn and Conference Center in Aurora, Ohio. She was designer for the Barrington Country Club, for which she is a prior owner. Iris is also a 50-percent partner, along with her son Scott, in the Flats East Project.
Iris has served on the boards of B’nai B’rith, Hadassah, the Jewish National Fund, the Solomon Schecter School and Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. She currently serves on University Hospitals’ Development Committee, the foundation board at Ohio State University, the advisory board of The First Tee of Cleveland, and is an honorary foundation board member at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
In 2003, Iris and Bert were named one of the top 60 donors nationwide by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. They also have received Association of Fundraising Professionals Leadership Award, the Benefit award from the Center for Families and Children, and University Hospitals’ Samuel Mather Award for exceptional generosity and civic vision.
This award was established in 2008 to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves through exceptional support to Case Western Reserve University and who have a history of philanthropic service to the university, the world or humanity that has made a profound, positive and lasting impact on the University’s mission.
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