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The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious medical academies, hosted a celebration for the naming of its historic Rare Book Reading Room in honor of Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller. The event took place on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at NYAM. The naming of the room was made possible through a generous grant from the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Charitable Trust and Foundation, Inc.
Attendees included Francine, Denise, Richard, and Harrison LeFrak; NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Greg Kelly, anchor for Fox 5 News, served as Master of Ceremonies. Attendees included Ethel LeFrak , Richard LeFrak and Karen LeFrak, Francine LeFrak and Rick Friedberg, and Denise, LeFrak and John Calicchio
During the naming of the Rare Book Reading Room, Jo Ivey Boufford, NYAM President, spoke at length about the historical significance of the room. During its existence, it has served as a beacon for research by physicians, medical students, historians, and academics.
"We are just thrilled to have Barry and Bobbi’s names linked to this room," Dr. Boufford said. "This honor is a testament to their scholarship and a personal statement on behalf of the LeFrak family, who chose to honor their friends in this very special way."
Francine LeFrak, a key organizer of the event, said the LeFrak family was honored to support this important tribute to Barry and Bobbi Coller.
"This is a very important moment for the LeFrak family. We always have wanted to honor Barry and Bobbi Coller in a way that meant something special to them and to us," Ms. LeFrak said. "Since they are such bibliophiles, as well as having made major important contributions to society, we could not think of a more perfect way than to add them to the history of The New York Academy of Medicine."
The mission of the LeFrak Family Foundations has always encompassed a broad, but focused agenda, including the support of religious and charitable organizations; institutions of higher learning; hospitals and research facilities; and cultural programs that sustain and encourage literary, performing, and visual arts.
Dr. Bobbi Coller, an independent curator and art historian, spoke with fondness about NYAM’s Rare Book Reading Room and the many wonderful times she and her husband shared with the library staff while doing research.
"Stepping into the Rare Book Reading Room of The New York Academy of Medicine is a transporting experience," Dr. Coller said. “Surrounded by beautifully crafted wood shelves and worn leather and vellum books, we are awed by the breadth of information and moved by a reverence for history. I wish to deeply thank the LeFrak family who, without our knowledge, conceived and oversaw every detail of today’s beautiful celebration."
Dr. Barry Coller, the David Rockefeller Professor of Medicine, head of the Laboratory of Blood and Vascular Biology, and Vice President for Medical Affairs at The Rockefeller University, as well as Physician-in-Chief of The Rockefeller University Hospital, echoed Bobbi’s sentiments, sharing his affinity for both the LeFrak family and NYAM.
"Today we celebrate history. We celebrate the history of the bond between the LeFrak and Coller families that goes back a very long way," Dr. Coller said. "They have generously supported the arts and sciences in great public institutions like The New York Academy of Medicine so that they can inspire everyone with curiosity and talent. It is a singular honor for Bobbi and me to have our names and the LeFrak family names linked to this unique archive of human creativity, innovation, and triumph over disease and terrible human suffering that comes with it." To learn more about NYAM, please visit us online at www.nyam.org.
Posted on August 22, 2012
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