Ronnie D. Planalp and Stephen S. Trevor Donate $2.5 Million in Gifts to Columbia University

Gifts support Entrepreneurship Curriculum at Columbia College, Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School, and Columbia Fencing.

Columbia University announced a total of $2.5 million in gifts from two Columbia alumni, Ronnie D. Planalp '86BUS and Stephen S. Trevor '86CC. The majority of their giving—$2 million—will establish the endowed Planalp Trevor Dean’s Curriculum Innovation Fund for Entrepreneurship at Columbia College, providing permanent support for the faculty teaching and the students enrolled in entrepreneurship courses. The Fund will also support, accelerate, and motivate the Columbia community’s programs and culture around innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship at Columbia College, now in the midst of its historic Core to Commencement Campaign.

“We are excited to announce the Planalp Trevor Dean’s Curriculum Innovation Fund for Entrepreneurship at Columbia College,” said James J. Valentini, dean of Columbia College and vice president for Undergraduate Education. “Enthusiasm for entrepreneurship is very high among students, and we are offering our first entrepreneurship course this year. This fund will provide permanent support for entrepreneurship at the College, so that we can continue to support our students in developing their ideas into successful enterprises and help them build their own futures using creative thinking and analytical skills."

"My time at Columbia College was nothing short of transformative. I am honored to support students' innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurial energy by giving back to an institution that has been so instrumental to my personal and professional development," said Trevor, a senior managing director at Avenue Capital Group, and supporter of Columbia College for over twenty years. He is a current co-chair of the College's sub-committee on Entrepreneurship, and has been on the College's Board of Visitors since 2011. Trevor's commitment to the College also includes gifts to the Dean's Innovation Fund for Entrepreneurship and to the Planalp Trevor Family Scholarship Fund which supports financial aid.

Trevor's success in the sport of fencing has inspired additional gifts to the University. While at Columbia, he was a three-time NCAA Fencing All-American. He also competed on the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic fencing teams. His commitment to establish the Stephen S. Trevor Fund for Elite Travel and Competition will build on Columbia's legacy of excellence in fencing by helping its current and future teams compete at US and international events.

“Columbia was the most important educational experience I have ever had,” said Planalp, the founder of Clear Eye Productions, a documentary film production company, and an acclaimed theater producer for Broadway and London's West End. “I produced both of my documentaries with a friend I made at the Business School and have been fortunate to watch the growth of the social enterprise program.” She credits her Columbia Business School experience as the catalyst for her nearly thirty-year involvement there. Her interest in helping today's business students prepare to be tomorrow's leaders, innovators, and problem solvers led her to join the advisory board of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, where she has served since 2006. Her gift to the Social Enterprise Fund at the Business School will further support the work of the Tamer Center.

Planalp is also giving back to the Business School as class of '86 reunion committee member, garnering financial and volunteer support from her classmates for the school's current priorities and initiatives in celebration of her class's 30th reunion. She also served as co-chair of her 20th reunion.

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Edward Schaefer

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