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Donations save FAU's center for Holocaust

June 5, 2008, Palm Beach Post, Donations save FAU's center for Holocaust, by Kimberly Miller.

BOCA RATON — More than $400,000 in private donations will keep Florida Atlantic University's Holocaust center open for the next two years after the school said it could not afford the program under pending budget cuts.

The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and the League for Educational Awareness of the Holocaust will each give $200,000 to pay the salaries of the center's director and a graduate student and to cover operating expenses.

Community members contributed an additional $25,000.

"We are extremely proud and pleased to be able to continue the critical work of the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education," federation President and CEO William Bernstein said in a statement.

"Holocaust education is a high priority in our aim to prevent anti-Semitism by fostering understanding and tolerance."

FAU had to cut $9.6 million from its budget this year because state coffers were hurt by the sluggish economy and poor housing market.

Money for several centers at FAU, including the Small Business Development Center and Holocaust center, was eliminated for the 2008-09 school year.

In May, school officials asked for help from the community to keep the 11-year-old Holocaust center open.

Members of South Florida's congressional delegation also put pressure on the school, saying in a letter that the center is critical in making sure "we do not forget the lessons of the Holocaust."

FAU Provost John Pritchett said he hopes the university's budget will recover in the next few years so that it can again pay for the center on its own.

The center was established following a state mandate that kindergarten-through-grade-12 schools provide educational programs about the impact of the Holocaust.

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