Philanthropy champion Gina Horwitz retires


Gina HorwitzGina Horwitz, associate director of philanthropy and alumni relations at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), has retired after 12 years as a leading fundraiser for the college. Raising millions during her time at Wayne State University, Horwitz will be remembered fondly by a long list of colleagues, faculty and donors who experienced her personalized kindness and dedication.

Donations to Wayne State support students and faculty with scholarships, teaching, programs and research. Horwitz was instrumental in helping many donors create lasting endowments that will continue supporting students’ education in perpetuity.

Mari Vaydik, senior director of philanthropy and alumni relations at CLAS, said, “I am thrilled that Gina will have more time for her family, travel and active social life. I am also very sad to lose such a dedicated, kind and deeply talented fundraiser.”

Gina and the alumni team

“Her deep knowledge of CLAS, along with her persistence, kindness and technical expertise, have made her one of the university's highest-producing gift officers year after year. But you can't capture what Gina has done in mere dollars — she's nurtured relationships on behalf of WSU for years that have benefited schools and colleges across campus, she's sustained an impressively high-level commitment to her job for over a decade, and she's generously shared her values-driven expertise with her fellow gift officers,” Vaydik wrote. “Gina's hard work will provide opportunities for students and faculty long after her retirement.”

Gina in the Grosscup MuseumHorwitz was adept at pinpointing where gifts could be most influential and most aligned with donor interests. In addition to fundraising on behalf of CLAS academic programs, Horwitz was passionate about raising funds for unique student experiences, including the renowned Junior Year in Munich study abroad program and the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS). 

Horwitz’s fundraising legacy is immense, but her skill for helping donors turn their philanthropic aspirations into reality was equally impressive. Professor Emeritus of Physics, Alvin Saperstein, and his wife Harriet, longtime supporters of CPCS and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said they will always remember Horwitz’s warmth and helpfulness when she met with them.

“It reflected her caring commitment for students, faculty and staff as well as her understanding of the importance of providing resources for both short- and long-term projects. She always had a positive attitude that glowed through her smile, voice and words and made interactions with her a delight as she helped you understand the benefits of your contributions to WSU."

Gina with colleagues Michael and LisaHorwitz penned a reflection on her time at Wayne State and what it meant:  

"In 2000, my son, Daniel, was a summer intern at CPCS and my husband, Arthur, was a frequent WSU visitor. I had never been on the school’s campus. I knew Wayne State was there, but I didn’t know Wayne State. Ten years later, I would be hired by Michael Mirto for a position as major gift officer for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. A whole new world opened to me.

After 12+ years of service, I feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment. You see, my mother is a Holocaust survivor, and my mother-in-law was a Holocaust survivor. As young women at the age of 10, their worlds came apart. Their schooling was disrupted. They had to leave the security of their homes and were lucky enough to survive WWII. In my role at Wayne State, I felt empowered to do something to improve the lives of young people who had dreams that my mother and mother-in-law were unable to pursue — raise funds to enhance the quality and lower the costs of their education.

The students and alumni from WSU are incredibly gifted people. Many manage school, work, double majors and minors while raising families or caring for their family members. I’ve been blessed to interact with many of them for all this time, as well as dedicated faculty and colleagues. My life is richer for it. I leave WSU with wonderful memories and lasting friendships — all benefits that I could never have dreamed of when I said yes to Michael Mirto in 2010."

Gina Horwitz with kayak team

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