The Roosevelt University community extends its heart-felt thanks again to Manfred and Fern Steinfeld, for their continued support of the University and The Manfred Steinfeld Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. The ongoing partnership with Mr. and Mrs. Steinfeld, at the Founder’s Society level, is emblematic of Mr. Steinfeld’s long connection and affinity to the University, and a lifetime of contribution to society through personal commitment and philanthropy
From his austere beginnings in Josbach Germany, a town of 400, Mr. Steinfeld’s mother sent him to America in 1938, sparing him from impending Nazi persecution. He arrived in America in 1938 as a young boy with “$10 in his pocket and knowing ten words of English” and lived with relatives.
After finishing high school, Mr. Steinfeld enlisted in the army in 1942 as a paratrooper and intelligence specialist. By the end of the war, he was one of the liberators of the Wobbelin concentration camp. For his heroism, Mr. Steinfeld was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and the European Campaign Medal with five campaign stars. Not until years later did he discover that his mother and sister had died just a few months earlier at the Stutthof camp.
On returning home, Mr. Steinfeld earned a degree in statistics in 1948 from Roosevelt and married Fern Goldman the following year. In 1954, he became an investor in the Great Northern Chair, a manufacturer of commercial seating, supplying such businesses as hotels, restaurants, and nursing homes. After changing the name to Shelby Williams, he built a plant in Morristown, Tennessee in 1963. Today Shelby Williams has sales of about $170 million a year.
With his actions and generosity, Mr. Steinfeld has left an indelible impression. His kinship to Roosevelt reflects the key role the institution played in his life, and exemplifies the role Roosevelt has played in the lives of others in changing their worlds.
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