Chapter Eternal: Harvey Meyerhoff – Businessman, Philanthropist, Founding Chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Museum

Harvey “Bud” Myerhoff ’48 (UW Madison), a businessman, philanthropist, fundraiser, and Founding Chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Museum passed into the Chapter Eternal in 2023.

Driving force behind the Holocaust Memorial Museum

Meyerhoff was deeply committed to the idea of an American national museum to the Holocaust, a reflection of his great devotion to our nation’s democracy.

He was appointed by President Reagan in 1986 to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, and charged with designing and building the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Harvey Meyerhoff in conversation with President George H.W. Bush at the White House.

Meyerhoff successfully oversaw the museum’s construction, but more importantly he raised $150 million in private funds needed to build the museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Meyerhoff personally donated $6 million of his own money.

At the dedication ceremonies on April 22, 1993, he said,

“By its very existence at the heart of our great democracy, this museum will teach generations to come not only about the awful events of the past, but about the consequences of bigotry, oppression, hatred and intolerance, and about the responsibilities that each of us has as citizens of a democratic society.”

Baltimore businessman and philanthropist

After he earned a degree at UW Madison, he served in the US Navy toward the end of World War II. Meyerhoff returned to Baltimore to join the family business, eventually becoming CEO of Monumental Properties, Inc. and president of Magna Properties, Inc.

Harvey directed the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds’ organization until early 2000. Among their many charitable contributions, he and his family helped to found the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

They were also supporters of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the National Zoo, Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum and the Maryland Institute College of Art. Meyerhoff also had a minority stake in the Baltimore Orioles. 

The Meyerhoff New Jewish Family Innovation Fund promotes programs that engage people of color, adoptees, single parents and LGBTQ parents and children.

Big Pi Chapter

For his professional and exceptional philanthropic accomplishments, Harvey was recognized with the Big Pi Award in 1998.

Photo credits: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum