The Goichman name has been associated with Cornell’s enology and viticulture program since 2009, when businessman Larry Goichman ’66 and his wife, Jennifer, endowed the first professorship of enology and viticulture at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva.
The couple’s experience with winemaking began decades earlier, while raising a family in Stamford, Conn. “We crushed the grapes, fermented the juice and made labels with the kids,” Larry Goichman said. “Everyone should try it. You start to appreciate people who can actually do it well.”
Now the Goichmans have increased their commitment to the endowment and the Geneva station, enabling a Goichman Family Directorship of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.
From his first visit, Goichman said he was impressed by the station’s research fields and its work to combat destructive beetles. “It’s amazing when a grower says, ‘I have a problem, and I’m losing my crop,’ and someone is listening who can respond,” he said.
He said he admires farmers for providing not just for their own families but for all people, and pointed out that NYSAES provides them with much-needed tools.
“Anyone in agriculture is passionate about it or wouldn’t be doing it. Being a farmer is taking the road less traveled,” Goichman said. “The station makes an incredibly difficult job a little easier.”
He is quick to add that agricultural problems affect all people, not just farmers: “The world is getting crowded. We need more efficient, safer ways to produce food and to be in sync with a changing climate. Agricultural research is there to prevent the dust bowls and potato famines of the future.”
The Goichman Family Fund, established in 1994, continues to provide support for Geneva faculty doing applied research. Goichman said his support of the station is as much about inspiring innovation as it is about addressing threats, and points to contributions that deliver new businesses and jobs for New York.
Goichman entered the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) with the intention of becoming a veterinarian, but his interests led him to graduate from the Department of Applied Economics and Management (then called agricultural economics). After earning an MBA from New York University, he worked for IBM, then established SCG Capital, an equipment leasing firm. He has served two terms on the CALS Advisory Council and is a member of the University Council and the NYSAES Advisory Council.
Both the Goichmans' children are Cornellians: Jesse Eisenberg, J.D. '02, MBA '02, and Samuel Goichman ’98, MBA '06.
“I feel very lucky to be able to make this contribution. I hope it will help others see they too can help Cornell in their lifetime,” Goichman said.
He cites NYSAES director and CALS associate dean Thomas Burr as a major factor in his family’s decision to endow the directorship.
“He’s a great collaborator who encourages positive changes,” Goichman said. “We’ve got to be smart about finding funding and pursuing critical research. The model today must be all hands on deck.”
“Being the first Goichman Family Director is a very special moment in my career,” Burr said. “For the station to be honored with an endowed directorship is testament to the strong foundation we’ve built over the past 131 years.”
Kate Frazer is the agricultural stations communications officer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.