Media Contact:Melissa Connolly
202 Hofstra Hall
Phone: (516) 463-6818
Fax: (516) 463-5146
Date: Oct 13, 2009
Hofstra University Mourns the Loss of Trustee Emeritus Donald E. AxinnHofstra University, Hempstead, NY: The Hofstra community is deeply saddened by the passing of Donald E. Axinn, trustee emeritus of the Hofstra University Board of Trustees.
Mr. Axinn was the founder and chairman of the Donald E. Axinn Companies, an investment firm and developer of office and industrial parks throughout the New York metropolitan area. He also was a director and partner of publishing house Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He published three novels and 11 books of poetry and produced a film, SPIN, based on his novel of the same name. Mr. Axinn combined his two great passions, flying and writing, in his books as well as articles and essays that have been published in The New York Times and Newsday, among others.
He initially served on Hofstra's Board of Trustees from 1970 to 1979, including terms as Secretary and Vice Chair. He took a leave from the Board in 1971-1972 to assume, on a pro bono basis, the Associate Deanship of the Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to be Director of the Institute of the Arts. He was made a Trustee Emeritus in 1979. Subsequently, he was asked to join the University's 50th Anniversary Committee in 1983, and he rejoined the Board of Trustees as an active trustee in 1984. In 1987, he received the Estabrook Award from the Alumni Organization. In 1988, in recognition of his many accomplishments and his service as a valued advisor to the University, the Hofstra University Library was named the Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library. He retired from the Board of Trustees in 1990 and once again became a Trustee Emeritus. In addition, at the time of the library naming, the annual Axinn Lecture and a fund in support of ecology and conservation were created from an endowment Mr. and Mrs. Axinn provided. In 2003, Mr. Axinn was honored at the annual Hofstra University Gala with the Hofstra University Presidential Medal, the highest honor the University bestows upon an individual.
Mr. Axinn was renowned for his support of the arts and of the metropolitan New York area. A co-founder of the Interfaith Nutrition Network in 1983, he also served on the Board of Trustees of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, as a member of the Advisory Council for Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution, on the board of The American Academy of Poets, Pen American Center, Poets House, and served as Chairman of The Nature Conservancy, Long Island Chapter. In 2002, the Cradle of Aviation Museum at Roosevelt Field, of which Mr. Axinn was also a trustee, opened the Donald E. Axinn Air and Space Museum to honor his philanthropy and aviation achievements. He received many awards and recognitions, from organizations such as The American Jewish Committee; the Citizen's Award from the Mental Health Association of Nassau County; and the 2003 Long Island Association's Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award for Community Service.
He was a graduate of Middlebury College, received a master of arts in humanities (with distinction) from Hofstra, and he had also been awarded five honorary doctorates.
He is survived by his wife Joan, six children and seven grandchildren.
In tribute to the memory of Mr. Axinn, all Hofstra University flags were lowered to half staff. Funeral services for Donald Axinn will take place on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at Gutterman's, 8000 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY 11797 (516) 921-5757. The family will receive guests beginning at 11 a.m., and the funeral service will take place at noon.
Video Profile of Donald Axinn from the 2003 Hofstra Gala
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