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Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg

The namesakes of the Center, Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg, were actively involved in Queensborough Community College, CUNY, the broader Queens community, and outspoken advocates of preserving Holocaust history. Kenneth, like so many QCC students today, was the son of immigrants who came to the US in 1903 from Romania. The family moved to Flushing in 1926. Part of Queens College’s first graduating class in 1941, he majored in Physics then continued his studies at Columbia University until being drafted. Skilled in math and physics, he was assigned to the top-secret Manhattan Project with his twin brother Max and another brother, Jesse. After the war, he co-founded the Flushing-based Kepco Inc. along with brothers Max, Jesse, and Jack. He eventually received his doctorate from New York University, where he also taught physics. Kenneth held fourteen patents related to the regulation of power supplies.


Harriet, a Queens native, attended PS 20 and Bayside High School. She attended New York University where she earned a degree in education, and then, like her husband, went to Queens College where she earned a master’s degree. Dedicated to education, she taught at Horace Mann Lincoln School in the Bronx and in the Great Neck Public School system. Always active in the local community, she served as a founding member, board member, and president of the Sisterhood of Temple Beth Sholom. A lifelong philanthropist and community leader, she also served as president of the Long Island Federation of Women’s clubs, and the Flushing Council Women’s Association, as well as secretary to the Flushing Hospital’s community advisory board. She served as a member of the Queensborough Community College Fund Board for thirty-six years, and was chairwoman of the KHC fundraising committee. Both Harriet and Kenneth were involved in the restoration of the John Bowne House in Flushing and served as trustees, where Harriet focused on educational programming.


During the war years, her father helped to extricate Jews from Eastern Europe. Only sixteen when the war started, Harriet understood the passion and motivation of young people faced with crisis. Through her work with the QCC Fund Board, Harriet was a tireless supporter of the college’s students and worked to provide them with new opportunities to learn and grow. It was with this understanding that she felt compelled to establish an endowment to support KHC programs in perpetuity which would go beyond teaching about the Holocaust as merely a history lesson.


Above image: Harriet Kupferberg (center) at the 2007 groundbreaking ceremony for the KHC.