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A graduate of Pennsylvania State University in 1945 with a B.A. Degree and recipient of an LL.B from Columbia Law School in 1947, Mrs. Gertrude Geraldine Michelson began her career as a member of the Executive Training Squad at Macy’s New York. She became Assistant to the Labor Relations Manager in 1948. Serving successively in management positions, she became Vice President for Employee Personnel in 1963; and Senior Vice President for Labor and Consumer Relations in 1970 and a member of the Macy’s New York Executive Committee and Board of Directors. In 1972, Mrs. Michelson assumed the responsibility of Senior Vice President for Personnel, Labor and Consumer Relations. In November 1980 she was elected Senior Vice President for External Affairs for R.H. Macy & Co., Inc. She retired from the Company in September 1992 and served the Company as a Senior Advisor and Member of the Board until December 31, 1994, at which time the company merged with Federated Department Stores, Inc.
Mrs. Michelson was Chairman Emerita of the Board of Trustees of Columbia University; formerly director and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Rand Corporation; Honorary Trustee Spelman College, formerly Chairman of the Markle Foundation; formerly a Director of the United Way of Tri-State, formerly Vice Chairman and Director of the New York City Partnership and Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Michelson was formerly a Member of the New York State Financial Control Board; Deputy Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank; a Member of the National Commission on the Public Service; a Director and Member of the Executive Committee of the American Arbitration Association; Director of Work in America Institute, Inc., Director of the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York.
She was president of the Board of Overseers at TIAA-CREF and was a member of the Board of Governors of the RAND Graduate School. She was formerly a member of the Mayor’s Committee on Appointments and served on the Mayor’s Council of Economic Advisors. She was previously a member of The Board of Visitors of Columbia Business School.
Mrs. Michelson previously served as a Director of the General Electric Company, Irving Bank Corporation and the Irving Trust Company, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., the Discount Corporation of New York, The Quaker Oats Company, Federated Department Stores, Inc., The Stanley Works, The Chubb Corporation, The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and as a Public Governor of the American Stock Exchange.
Mrs. Michelson was Chairman of the Board of the Helena Rubinstein Foundation and is a member of Board of Visitors at Columbia Law School. Mrs. Michelson was a member of the Economic Club of New York and The Women’s Forum.
Mrs. Michelson was the recipient of the honorary LL.D from Adelphi University, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from New Rochelle College, Honorary Doctor of Laws from Marymount Manhattan College, Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Policy Analysis from the RAND Graduate School, the James Kent Award from the School of Law, Columbia University, the Frederick A. P. Barnard Award from Barnard College, the Pennsylvania State University Alumni Fellow Award; the AWED American Women’s Economic Development Corporation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women’s Economic Development; the Girl Scout Women’s Achievement Award; the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund Equal Opportunity Award; and the Catalyst Award for Contribution to Corporate Leadership and the Wein Award from Columbia Law School.
Sadly, Mrs. Michelson passed away on January 13, 2015. Her late husband Horace Michelson predeceased her in 2002.