SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Skidmore College is recognizing the visionary leadership and service of longtime trustee Wilma “Billie” Stein Tisch by naming its new Center for Integrated Sciences in her honor. Billie, a 1948 Skidmore graduate and one of its most generous donors, served on the Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2014, helping to guide the College through an intense period of expansion.
A naming ceremony and dedication for the Billie Tisch Center for Integrated Sciences will be held on Friday, May 20. The event coincides with the completion of the project’s east wing, the second of three phases in the project’s construction.
“This special occasion is an opportunity to celebrate one of Skidmore’s most significant new buildings in a generation and to recognize Billie’s many impactful contributions to Skidmore today and for generations to come,” said President Marc Conner. “The historic nature of this milestone also adds to our community’s excitement and the celebratory spirit leading up to Commencement for the Class of 2022 on Saturday, May 21.”
The facility’s east wing will open its doors to students this fall. The first phase of the project, the north wing, opened in fall 2020. The rest of the project is on track for completion in 2024.
Billie eagerly advocated for the ambitious project, which brings all of Skidmore’s science programs together under one roof. She even came up with the term “integrated” in the building’s name, as the best description of all the ways the new facility would serve the Skidmore community.
In addition to supporting the new science center, she and her family have spearheaded all kinds of projects at the college that support the academic work of both students and faculty. They established the Tisch Family Scholarship Endowment in 1994 and funded the Tisch Chair in Arts and Letters and the Tisch Family Distinguished Professorship, each showing the family’s dedication to Skidmore’s excellence and creativity in both scholarship and teaching. The Tisch Learning Center, completed in 1987, honors Billie Tisch and her late husband, Laurence Tisch.
Billie also donated to establish an endowed chair with her graduating class, the Class of 1948 Chair for Excellence in Teaching. Her longstanding support for the Skidmore Fund has been a continuing demonstration of her commitment to ensuring all students have access to the dynamic experiences associated with a Skidmore education.
“Our mother loves Skidmore. It is her cherished alma mater,” said Billie’s sons Andrew, Daniel, James, and Thomas Tisch. “Skidmore has also been a great inspiration of community for her for close to 80 years — from her days as an undergraduate to her years on the Board of Trustees and as a loyal alumna. Along with our mother, we are honored to celebrate the Billie Tisch Center for Integrated Sciences at Skidmore.”
Billie’s support for Skidmore is part of her widely-known philanthropy and civic leadership. Among other distinctions, she was the first woman elected president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. When looking back on her enduring commitment to serving others, she is known to say: “The rewards of service are intrinsic.”