In Memoriam: Marc Abrahms

Fine art photographer gave his name to Marvin Center entrance.

Marc Abrahms
Marc Abrahms
July 27, 2015

Marc Abrahms, photographer and philanthropist, died July 16 in Bloomfield, Conn. A longtime friend of the George Washington University, he gave his name to the Cloyd Heck Marvin Center’s Marc C. Abrahms Great Hall.

Mr. Abrahms was the former sole shareholder and president of Abrahms Group Benefits and Abrahms Life Services Inc. After selling the two companies to Brown & Brown Insurance in 2001, Mr. Abrahms turned his attention to fine art and nature photography. His work is featured in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art and the Library of Congress. Some pieces also are displayed at GW and other universities throughout the world.

Mr. Abrahms’ mother, Phyllis Abrahms, received an associate degree from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences in 1939 and a bachelor’s degree from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development in 1941. She later joined the English faculty at CCAS. His brother, Eliot Abrahms, received his MD from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 1974.

In 1989, Marc Abrahms established the Abrahms Family Fund in memory of his brother. Twenty-four years later, he designated the fund to provide emergency grants of $500 or more each academic year to GW students without money for food.

“I thought it was one of the most meaningful gifts I’d ever had a hand in finalizing,” remembered Jane Kolson, senior planned giving advisor at GW, who worked with Mr. Abrahms throughout his philanthropic career. “We talked about it quite a bit. He said, ‘Everybody thinks that hunger in America, especially in prosperous cities, doesn’t exist anymore. I know better than that, I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and that’s why I’m doing this.’ To me, it really demonstrated his unbelievable sense of compassion for others.”