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2007 Honorary Degree

Sylvia Bankoff
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Sylvia Bankoff has distinguished herself as a longtime resident of Michigan City, Ind., making significant contributions to the quality of life of the region.

Her involvement for more than 50 years in the LaPorte County League of Women Voters contributed to more effective functioning of government. Among her efforts through the league, Mrs. Bankoff successfully championed implementing a program of urban renewal in Michigan City that helped clear the slums on the city's north and west sides. She was instrumental in changing the Michigan City school board from an appointed body to an elected board. She also served on the LaPorte County Welfare Board for more than 10 years.

Among her most enduring contributions was founding The Sinai Sunday Evening Forum, with her late husband, Dr. Milton Bankoff. The Sinai Sunday Evening Forum -- 54 years later -- is known as the Sinai Forum. Presented by Purdue North Central, the Forum has brought Nobel laureates, world leaders, media pundits and legendary performers to Northwest Indiana in a town hall format, which draws approximately 1,000 subscribers each year.

Sylvia Rosner was born in New York City in 1918, grew up in Brooklyn, and received her bachelor's degree from Long Island University. She was president of LIU's student council and co-editor of the university's newspaper with Milton Bankoff, who would later become her husband.

They married in 1940 before she received her master's at the City College of New York. While her husband attended medical school at NYU, Sylvia taught high school.

The couple moved to Michigan City in 1944 and made it their lifelong residence, raising four children there. Mrs. Bankoff was comptroller of Woodview Rehabilitation Center. She received her MBA from the University of Chicago in 1978.

In 1991, Purdue North Central recognized Mrs. Bankoff as an Outstanding Woman in Education. In 2000, she received the Sagamore of the Wabash award from Gov. Frank O'Bannon for outstanding contributions to the state of Indiana. She also received the Michigan City Human Rights Commission Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2000.

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