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Hofstra’s Chemistry/Physics Building was named Herman A. Berliner Hall on October 20, 2008, thanks to a Hofstra alumnus and trustee who wanted to acknowledge the Hofstra provost’s positive influence on his career.
Alan J. Bernon ’76, who last year funded an endowed academic chair in China studies to honor another of his former professors, Harold Lazarus, of the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, donated funds to name the Chemistry/Physics Building on the South Campus for his former teacher Herman A. Berliner.
“What could be better than naming one of our new, important buildings, our science building, after someone who began his career at Hofstra as a faculty member and, in his 39th year at Hofstra, has been responsible for Hofstra’s academic progress to date?” said President Stuart Rabinowitz. “And how fitting that this is made possible by a proud graduate of Hofstra University and a trustee who was so impressed with his relationship with Herman and the way Herman taught back when he was in the Economics Department that he wants to honor him this way.”
“I think that of all of Herman’s attributes – his integrity and the sense of purpose here and how he has helped the University become the fine institution it is – one of the most special things about him is the care that he had for students both as a professor and as an administrator, and I think Hofstra University is fortunate to have him as part of its administrative team,” said Mr. Bernon.
Dr. Berliner, who is also senior vice president for academic affairs and the Lawrence Herbert Distinguished Professor, became provost at Hofstra in 1990, after having served for almost one year as acting provost.
“As faculty we pride ourselves on the impact we have on our students,” Dr. Berliner said. “With Alan, it’s a case of the former student now having a greater impact on me. Alan’s commitment to Hofstra, his compassion, his support of major Hofstra initiatives, his generosity and his leadership style are all exemplary. Alan Bernon is clearly a role model, and we all appreciate his good work."
The provost and senior vice president for academic affairs is second in command to the president at the University. Dr. Berliner has oversight responsibilities for all the colleges, schools and academic programs of the University, as well as the libraries, the Hofstra Cultural Center, the Hofstra University Museum, and the Saltzman Community Services Center. In this capacity and at the president’s request, he also serves as chair of the University negotiating team in collective bargaining with faculty.
Dr. Berliner joined Hofstra University in 1970 as an assistant professor of economics, after having earned a Ph.D. in economics from the City University of New York Graduate School. He was awarded tenure in 1975, promoted to associate professor in 1978 and to professor in 1985.
Dr. Berliner has served in a number of key administrative positions, including interim dean and dean of the Zarb School of Business; associate provost and associate dean of faculties; acting dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Services; associate dean of University Advisement; and assistant provost. As interim dean of the Zarb School of Business, Dr. Berliner was an instrumental part of the team that secured national AACSB (AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation of the graduate program as well as re-accreditation of the undergraduate program. As acting dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Services, he played a similar role in Hofstra’s NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) reaccreditation effort. Provost Berliner also played a vital role in the establishment of the School of Communication, Honors College and the School for University Studies, the first new schools established at the University since 1970.
Alan Bernon earned a B.B.A. in finance from Hofstra and has been a Hofstra trustee for more than 16 years. He was a member of the Executive Committee for The Campaign for Hofstra University. Mr. Bernon is a founding investor and a member of the advisory board at Sequel Holdings, L.P., a Dallas-based private equity firm. He recently resigned as director of Dean Foods Company in Dallas, Texas. Sequel Holdings was responsible for more than 115 acquisitions made by Dean Foods and related companies during the past 15 years, with a combined enterprise value of approximately $7 billion.
Mr. Bernon and his brother built their family business, Garelick Farms, from approximately $100 million in sales in 1985 to almost $400 million when they sold the business along with their plastics company, Franklin Plastics, to Suiza Foods in 1997. In 2001 Suiza purchased Dean Foods, and Alan Bernon became COO of the Northeast Region. As chief operating officer, he was responsible for the region’s growth from close to $300 million in sales in 1997 to approximately $1.5 billion in 2003.
Mr. Bernon was originally elected to Dean Foods’ board of directors in connection with its acquisition of the Garelick Companies in 1997. He has retained his position at Garelick Farms as president since 1985.