The gift will fund undergraduate scholarships and offer unrestricted support to the philanthropists’ namesake Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program
Borns donate $1 million
The Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences announced today a $1 million gift from IU alumni Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns. The gift from Mr. and Mrs. Borns will provide funding to multiple areas of the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program, which was named in their honor in 1992.
With their latest gift, Mr. and Mrs. Borns cap decades of remarkable generosity and dedication to IU, having supported Jewish Studies students, faculty, research, and programs for more than 30 years.
Qualifying for the university’s bicentennial campaign match, half of their $1 million gift supports Borns Family Scholarships in their namesake program, while the other half comes in the form of a planned gift that will offer unrestricted support to the program at large.
“In supporting Jewish Studies with such enduring generosity, Bob and Sandra have had an indelible impact on Indiana University and the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie. “With equal attention to the present and the future, Bob and Sandra’s latest gift is a testament to the visionary nature of their philanthropy and their profound commitment to Jewish studies, life, and culture.”
Mark Roseman, director of the Borns Jewish Studies Program, echoes a similar sentiment. The Borns family’s past and present philanthropy has helped lay the foundation for Jewish Studies at IU, Roseman says, securing its national and international reputation as one of the leading programs of its kind.
“Bob and Sandra’s giving has made us a world-class program,” Roseman said. “Between their student support, faculty support, and their unrestricted support, they’ve made the program competitive at an international level. Their generosity makes it possible for us to be a center of scholarship and learning in Jewish history, culture and thought, and of Jewish cultural events that can rival any campus in the world. Bob and Sandra’s giving hasn’t just been supportive; it’s been utterly transformative.”
In studying Jewish history, there’s so much good to be learned for people of all backgrounds.Robert A. Borns
Mr. and Mrs. Borns’ connection to Indiana University dates back more than 60 years. Mr. Borns earned a Bachelor of Science from the Kelley School of Business in 1957, and Mrs. Borns earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from IUPUI in 1974, later completing her master’s degree in education in 1983.
Mr. and Mrs. Borns lead celebrated careers as real estate developers, operating out of Indianapolis. They have three children — Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, Emily Borns, and Betsy Borns — all of whom remain involved with Indiana University and the Borns Jewish Studies Program. Their daughter Betsy and her husband Jonathan Shapiro serve on the program’s advisory board.
Mr. Borns says philanthropy has always been a central part of the Borns family’s life, and that they’re especially mindful of the rising costs of higher education.
“Because of the cost of going to a university, many students and their families are having a difficult time paying for their education,” Mr. Borns said. “The match that the university is giving, plus what we’re giving, will certainly make it easier for many students to afford a college education.”
In regard to the support they’ve dedicated to the College of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Borns stresses the wide-ranging applicability and appeal of Jewish Studies.
“In studying Jewish history, there’s so much good to be learned for people of all backgrounds,” Mr. Borns said. “Jewish Studies is not just for Jewish students. It’s for students of all religions and backgrounds.”