About Martin Begun
Martin Stanley Begun was born in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City on June 19, 1932 to Isadore Begun (born 1905 in New York and employed as a lawyer) and Judith Begun (born 1912 in Estonia). He acquired his BA in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1953 and went on to receive his MA in Public Law and Government from Columbia University in 1955. Shortly after completing his education at Columbia, he served active military duty in the 42nd Infantry Division of the Army National Guard in Seoul, Korea, from 1957-1960. In 1958, he was awarded a Commendation Medal by the Secretary of the Army. Coinciding with Begun’s military service, he was appointed as Instructor of Political Science with the University of Maryland Overseas Division for the Far East in the late 1950s and held a Lecturer position briefly from 1961-1962 at Baruch College before starting his lasting career at New York University’s School of Medicine in 1963 as an administrator and professor, retiring as Senior Associate Dean and Vice President of External Affairs in 1997. During his tenure at NYU, he was a strong advocate on behalf of the homeless and mentally ill during a time when they were overlooked by the medical community, and wrote an article in 1985 entitled “Crossroads for the Mentally Ill Homeless.”
He was also active in New York City politics under the Liberal and Democratic parties and ran unsuccessfully for Edward Koch’s seat in Congress in 1978 after Koch became Mayor. He served as chairman of the Community Services Board of the city’s Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Alcoholism Services from 1974-1994, along with many other civic and community service appointments. A longtime leader of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, he maintained ties with leading federal, state and city officials, from Vice President Hubert Humphrey to Governors Nelson Rockefeller and Hugh Carey and Mayors Robert F. Wagner Jr., Abraham Beame, and Edward Koch. In his work with the Liberal Party, he nominated Hillary Clinton for New York Senator on June 3, 2000 describing her as “a candidate who is the spiritual and political descendent of Eleanor Roosevelt… whose cares and concerns demonstrate a total commitment to education, universal healthcare, and the equal protection of rights for all citizens.” In 1997, Martin Begun married Louise M. Sunshine, founder and former president of the real estate and marketing company, the Sunshine Group (later known as Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group).Sunshine made her name in real estate during her fifteen year career as executive vice president of the Trump Organization from 1973-1988. Begun passed away in 2016.
About this Exhibit
This exhibit showcases highlights of the life and career of Martin Begun. The menu on the right will take you through the exhibit pages.
Also on the left menu, the Martin Begun Scholars Program link takes you to original research conducted by Baruch students using the Begun Collection.
For more information on the collection, or to view the original print materials, visit Baruch College Archives and Special Collections here.