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Maxwell School receives major gift from Chicago businessman Andrew Berlin

September 23, 2010

Jill Leonhardt
(315) 443-5492

The Maxwell School has announced that it has received a $500,000 endowment gift to fund faculty research relating to issues of national security. The Andrew Berlin Family National Security Research Fund has been established in honor of Professor David H. Bennett and will operate through the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT), a collaboration between Maxwell and the Syracuse University College of Law. The fund will provide research and related support to Maxwell School faculty members who are affiliated with INSCT.

berlinThe donor, Andrew Berlin, is chairman and chief executive officer of Berlin Packaging, headquartered in Chicago. Under his leadership since 1988, the consumer-centric company has experienced exponential growth, with annual sales approaching $600 million. His gift to the Maxwell School was inspired by a professor who, he says, “stood out among the rest” during his undergraduate days at SU, where he received his bachelor’s degree in political science.

“Syracuse University, though large and at times daunting, was a place—I always believed—that if one chose to learn and be successful would provide a plethora of paths and methods to achieve those goals,” says Berlin. “To that end, I seized upon political science and history as the two subjects that engaged me most. My desire to excel was supported by nearly every professor with whom I came in contact, but there was one professor who, to me, stood out among the rest. That was and is David Bennett. His passion for his teaching, his students, his work, became a model for me as my personal evolution to adulthood was accelerating.

“Long after my departure from SU, I always remembered fondly the school, its culture, the environment and the opportunities. I am now at the point in my life where I can say thank you in a meaningful manner, and also address and assist in the important study and research of national security and counterterrorism issues. Regardless of politics and perspective, very little matters in our country if we do not have strong national security; all other important planks in one’s political platform, all other important issues of the day (education, welfare, health care, a healthy economy) pale by comparison. And I cannot think of a better place to support—at a school that provided that nurturing environment—than the Institute of National Security and Counterterrorism. Moreover, it is my honor to add Professor David Bennett’s name to this gift, and recognize his many years of commitment to Syracuse and the many students he mentored and nurtured during his tenure,” says Berlin.

Bennett remembers Berlin well. “When he was a student at SU,” Bennett says, “Andrew was an exceptional student in my classes, including a course in military history. He has had an extraordinary career since leaving our campus, and now his generous gift will support student and faculty research on national security and terrorism issues for years to come. I am deeply honored that Andrew would include my name in the title of the Berlin Family Fund.”

INSCT was established in 2003. It is dedicated to interdisciplinary teaching, research and public service focused on important national and global problems of security and terrorism. INSCT faculty and graduate students pursuing professional and doctoral degrees engage in advanced coursework toward specialty certificates in security and terrorism studies. They collaborate in the development of innovative interdisciplinary courses and seminars, such as “Perspectives on Terrorism,” team taught by political science, history, communications, international relations, public administration and law faculty.

The Institute’s research portfolio is broad and deep, ranging from faculty-supervised student working papers and research reports, to significant articles and books for academic journals and presses, to sponsorship of major workshops and conferences designed to further a research agenda in security or terrorism. While all INSCT research advances knowledge in the field, many projects are conducted on behalf of, or in consultation with, agencies, municipalities and other public entities, thus providing direct public service.

INSCT Director William C. Banks says, “I can think of no better way for Andrew Berlin to honor Professor David Bennett than to create an endowed research fund in his name, benefiting faculty whose research is directed at questions involving national security and counterterrorism.”

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