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Family Legacy of Leadership and Philanthropy

A conversation with Eric Krasnoff, Chairman of the Long Island University Board of Trustees

KrasnoffFor nearly 40 years, the Krasnoff family has maintained a deep personal commitment to Long Island University that began when Abraham Krasnoff H’85 joined the Board of Trustees in the late 1970s. Abe, who also served as chairman of the board, left the University with a legacy of leadership and generosity that continues to have an impact today. In 1992, his son, Eric, current chairman of the board, carried on this legacy when he joined the University as a trustee. After serving for many years as head of the board’s Planning Committee, Eric was elected to the chairmanship in 2014.

Eric Krasnoff spent much of his career with Pall Corporation, a Fortune 1,000 company based in Port Washington, N.Y., specializing in the manufacturing and global distribution of products that advance health, safety, and environmentally responsible technologies, where he served as the chief executive officer, president, and chairman before his retirement in 2012.

Arts and culture have been a lifelong passion for both Eric and his wife Sandra, who serves as vice chair of the Council of Overseers at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post. During his tenure at Pall, the company became the principal sponsor of dance at Tilles Center, making it the region's leading presenter of that art form. That commitment led the Krasnoffs to expand their philanthropy to the University and endow Tilles Center’s dance program, bringing the likes of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and others to Long Island. Additionally, the family continues to support the Abraham Krasnoff Memorial Award for Scholarly Achievement, one of the highest honors bestowed to LIU faculty members in recognition of their outstanding academic contributions.

A life-long resident of Long Island, Krasnoff also serves as a vice-chair of the Long Island chapter
of The Nature Conservancy and as a board member of Old Westbury Gardens.

Your family has a long-standing relationship with LIU. What drew you to the university?
I grew up in Glen Cove, and from a very early age I knew many people that were involved with the University through the Post campus. As I began my career at Pall, LIU became a favorite organization of mine in terms of philanthropy because of its commitment to helping people get ahead in life. At the same time, LIU has always stood out as an important player in improving the cultural life of the community. It doesn’t get much better than being able to support an institution that contributes to the region in such a positive way and makes it the kind of place where you want to live and raise your children.

You’ve been a member of the board for more than 20 years—how has LIU evolved in that time and what are your goals for the future?
LIU is a multifaceted institution that exists to serve students from across the globe. Over the past 20 years I have seen firsthand how LIU has positioned itself as an important institution of higher learning—expanding our campuses and academic programs, all while continuing to improve the opportunities we are able to provide to our students. As one of the largest private universities in the country, we have an obligation to broaden our mission, fine tune services we afford to our students, and become more focused on outcomes and long-term sustainability. It’s important that we stay focused in our efforts to empower our students to achieve their career-oriented goals, along with personal fulfillment. As we go forward, we are expanding partnerships with businesses and industry leaders throughout the region from startups to blue chip companies to create internships and provide our students with real world work experiences that will impact their life and their success.

We are also working hard to continue to leverage the many diverse benefits of this University so students can take advantage of the complimentary offerings we provide across our campuses—from the Gold Coast of Long Island to Downtown Brooklyn to the international centers of LIU Global—our goal is to continue to maximize the energy and excitement of LIU for the benefit and betterment of many.

Under the leadership of our great president, Dr. Kimberly R. Cline, we are bringing a different perspective and renewed focus to everything we are trying to accomplish.

Where do you see the future of higher education over the next decade?
Many were saying years ago that the future of higher ed was centered around online programs, which I don’t believe. You need human contact and intellectual interaction and dialogue for student development and enrichment to take shape.

We need to pay close attention to the affordability of a college degree and we need to help students get through their programs more efficiently and with more hands-on experience to prepare them to achieve their goals following graduation. Continuing to develop specialty programs that focus on practical skills and provide opportunities to gain experience and create relationships will be even more essential to the success of higher education in the coming years. 

What is the one ingredient that every student today needs to be successful in the 21st-century global marketplace?
I think literacy is the most important thing in today’s job market. Not general reading and writing, but actual fluency in the specific technology and communication skills needed for their areas of study. Whether it’s life science or computer science, being knowledgeable and conversant in the language and operation of an industry will go a long way to helping students find success after graduation.

How does the arts and entertainment programming at Tilles Center and Kumble Theater benefit LIU and the community at large?
One great thing about Tilles Center and Kumble Theater is that they provide an important contribution to the arts more broadly. The programming they offer helps expose communities across the region to the University, bringing people together and expanding LIU's reach. Together, these performing arts centers demonstrate LIU’s commitment to public engagement. There have been some incredible performances, from Wynton Marsalis playing with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at Tilles Center to Ashford & Simpson at Kumble Theater. It’s also always a great treat to see our students perform and lay the foundation for LIU’s important legacy of contributions to the performing arts in New York. Now, with the new partnership with Bruce Ratner, Brett Yormark, and the Paramount Entertainment Center group, the LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre will also enhance the cultural life of LIU and our community.