Lewis B. Cullman — to quote former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite — "is one of this nation’s major and most generous philanthropists" — one who helped usher in a new era in U.S. financial history. In 1964, Cullman and a colleague engineered the very first leveraged buyout (LBO) — with $1,000 cash, they bought Orkin Exterminating Company for $62.4 million. And a subsequent succession of deals resulted in his purchase of Keith Clark, a desk calendar company, that evolved into At-A-Glance®, the largest manufacturer of calendars and appointment books in the U.S.
Once Lewis Cullman sold the company, he embarked on the next, and most rewarding, journey of his life — philanthropy. To date, he has given away over nearly $500 million to the arts, sciences and education. And, almost without exception, he supported organizations with which he and his wife Dorothy wanted to get involved. Since Dorothy's death, limited philanthropy has continued with his wife, Louise Hirschfeld Cullman.
Lewis Cullman’s life story and giving philosophy are detailed in his 2004 memoir, Can’t Take It With You — The Art of Making and Giving Money (John Wiley & Sons). He also is the author of the booklet, How to Succeed in Fundraising by Really Trying.
He graduated from Yale University in 1941, earned a Master’s degree from New York University in 1942, and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy until the end of the war. Mr. Cullman was also awarded an honorary Doctorate from Purdue University.
Mr. Cullman serves on the boards of General American Investors Company, Inc., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Neuroscience Research Foundation, Inc., and The New York Botanical Garden. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts.