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Noted Real Estate Entrepreneur and Art Collector Mera Rubell to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award from Long Island University

Partner in Rubell Hotels to attend Brooklyn Campus Commencement on May 15

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Brooklyn, N.Y. - Prominent philanthropist and art patron Mera Rubell will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from Long Island University 's Brooklyn Campus at its 78th commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 15.

Rubell, a resident of Miami, is a partner in Rubell Hotels and in the Rubell Family Collection. She will share the stage with talk show host Tavis Smiley, the commencement speaker, as he addresses an audience of more than 1,700 graduating students, many of them immigrants and first-generation collegians.

Herself an immigrant, Rubell was born in Russia and came to the United States with her family when she was just 12 years old. In 1968, she earned a master's degree in education at the Brooklyn Campus and taught at a Head Start program in Harlem for two years, followed by five years in the New York City public school system.

An entrepreneur at heart, Rubell, with her husband, Don, proceeded to own tennis retail stores in Texas; become the U.S. distributor for Fila and Ellesse sportswear; work as a commercial office leasing broker in New York City; and started Rubell Hotels, a development and management company, which today includes the Albion Hotel in Miami Beach and the Capitol Skyline in Washington, D.C.

Rubell and her family are primarily known for assembling a vast collection of contemporary art. The Rubell Family Collection is one of the leading collections of contemporary art in the world and includes a research library with over 30,000 volumes. Exhibited in a converted 45,000 square-foot former D.E.A. confiscated-goods warehouse, it is a permanent museum of the Rubells' extensive collection of work from the 1960s to the present. In addition to exhibitions, the Collection has a thriving internship program; a rich calendar of artists' talks, films and public discussions; and a Web site, www.rubellfamilycollection.com.

An active member of the community and a generous philanthropist, Mrs. Rubell has been the recipient of numerous honors, including the Philanthropy Award from the City of Miami, the City of Miami Beach Mayor's Economic Council Award, the Anderson Ranch Award for cultural contributions, The 1996 Office Building of the Year (TOBY) Award and the NPR Ireland award for the “titled untitled” exhibition in Lismore Castle.

Posted 05/08/2008

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