Winter 2020

What a lifetime of giving can do

Courtesy of Cindy Li

Late last year, Leo Breitman did something he’s done every year for more than half a century: He mailed a check to the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. “There’s no way I could repay what my education has given me,” he says.

Breitman’s relationship with the U began in 1943, when he enrolled as a pre-med student. After serving in World War II, he came back and majored in what he calls his “life-time love”—accounting.

Breitman says his Carlson School education laid the foundation for the rest of his life. Early in his career, he opened his own accounting firm and worked there until his retirement in 1980. 

“I had such warm feelings for the Carlson School because it put me in a position to lead a good life as an accountant. I had to pay back what little I could,” he says.

Breitman’s gifts to the Carlson School are helping students like Cindy Li, a recipient of the Dean’s Excellence Fund Award, which he supports. Li is a first-generation student whose family immigrated from China. “I don’t want college to be my parents’ burden,” she says.