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Norman E. Alexander Family M Foundation Forum on Science and Foreign Policy

About the Lectureship Series

Advancing science and technology in an uncertain world 


Established in 2024, the Norman E. Alexander Family M Foundation Forum on Science and Foreign Policy is an endowed annual event that explores the interconnections among the natural sciences, emerging technologies, and foreign policy and national security. It was made possible through the generosity of the Norman E. Alexander Family M Foundation in recognition of Mr. Alexander’s lifelong engagement in all manner of discourse for the betterment of humanity. The forum provides a unique platform for interdisciplinary knowledge-sharing among scientists and foreign policy experts. 

Norman E. Alexander (1914–2006)

Norman E. Alexander
Norman E. Alexander (Alexander Family)

Norman E. Alexander was an illustrious businessman and philanthropist whose remarkable career spanned seven decades. In 1954, he purchased Ampacet Corp.—then a small plastics recycler—and built it into one of the world’s largest color and additive concentrate makers. When he died in 2006, Mr. Alexander was executive chairman of Sequa Corporation, a $2 billion global conglomerate that he led for over 50 years, making him one of the longest-tenured chief executives in American industrial history.  

Mr. Alexander was a lifelong philanthropist and a dedicated supporter of many academic, Jewish, cultural, and other philanthropic causes. He left a lasting legacy in preserving and promoting Jewish culture, tradition, and education. He was a patron and trustee of the Jewish Museum in Manhattan and a governor and vice president of the American Jewish Committee. A passionate believer in the importance of education and open discourse and inquiry, Mr. Alexander was a founding member of the board of the Jewish Week, a longstanding member of the publication committee of Commentary Magazine, and a supporter of the Jewish Publication Society. In addition, he was a founder and board member of the Albert Einstein Medical College, a founding trustee of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, and a major supporter of UJA-Federation as well as Temple Kol Ami. He also served on the boards of Bronx Lebanon Hospital and as chairman of New York Medical College.  

Mr. Alexander nurtured a deep, lifelong relationship with Columbia University and Columbia Law School, where he graduated in 1934 and 1936, respectively. He was a member of the board of visitors of Columbia Law School and the board of Columbia/Barnard Hillel, where he established the Alexander Program Center for Jewish Life. In recognition of his distinguished professional achievements, Mr. Alexander was awarded the 1985 John Jay Award, and in 2008 Columbia Law School established the Norman E. Alexander Scholarships in his honor. Two years later, Columbia Libraries founded the Norman E. Alexander Library for Jewish Studies.