University of Maryland

Why We Give

By Fred Feldman PH.D. '67

Fred Feldman PH.D. '67 Portrait

Fred Feldman PH.D. '67

I certainly didn’t start out as the best student. I grew up in a tenement in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, which was a rough neighborhood then, and still is. I spent more time on the streets than in the classroom. What finally lifted me out of that life was higher education—first at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and then graduate school in chemistry at the University of Maryland. I may not have been the most serious student when I entered college, but I certainly became one at Maryland, among excellent professors and fellow students.

After I received my Ph.D., I had a long and fruitful career in the fields of clinical diagnostic instrumentation and biotechnology. I lived around the world, helped build a successful biotech startup—which I consider kind of a capstone career experience—and later on served as part-time CEO and board member to lend my experience to a number of companies just getting started.

Decades later, I still feel very close and grateful to the University of Maryland, so my wife, Claire, and I have pledged $100,000 to establish the Fredric J. Feldman Ph.D. ’67 and Claire Feldman Student Success Endowment for graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

I remember lining up back in the mid- ’60s with other graduate students in the chairman’s office to collect our $73 stipend, and then getting our first good meal of the week. Money is rarely easy for graduate students to come by, and the idea behind our gift is to provide funds for the little “extras” that make graduate study easier and more rewarding, including special projects, writing workshops, dissertation completion awards, travel, scholarships and other programs.

The University of Maryland was where it all started for me. It was where I married my wife, had my first child, made lifelong friends and launched my career. If our gift helps today’s students experience some of the satisfaction and success that I have enjoyed, I will be very happy, indeed.

Fred Feldman PH.D. '67 now retired and an avid biker, has been a senior executive, CEO and president of several small and large medical diagnostic and biotechnology companies. He also served as a board member in a number of private and public companies.