School of Education Mourns the Passing of Life Trustee Doris ‘Dottie’ L. Payson ’57

Doris “Dottie” Payson ’57 first parlayed a bachelor’s degree in education from Syracuse University into a teaching career in the Brooklyn School District. But her passion for travel and learning about the wonders of the world led to her second career in the travel industry, serving clients at Jeffrey’s World of Travel, Ltd. in Great Neck, New York.

Dottie Payson headshotPayson passed away on Feb. 12, 2024, at the age of 87. She was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 2000 and served as a voting trustee until 2012. She was co-chair of the Academic Affairs Committee from 2003 to 2007, and continued to be engaged in that committee and the Facilities Committee as a life trustee.

Payson’s service to Syracuse University went far beyond the Board of Trustees. She was an alumni representative for the Office of Admissions for nearly two decades. Payson also served on the Metropolitan New York and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs advisory boards and was co-chair of the National Campaign Council for the Commitment to Learning Campaign, a multi-year capital campaign launched in the 1990s.

After graduating from the School of Education, Payson earned a master’s degree in history from Columbia University and enrolled in New York University’s Law School, but took a break from her law studies to raise a family. While parenting, she taught in the Long Island School System.

Payson’s philanthropic endeavors included the College of Arts and Sciences, the Maxwell School (where a scholarship fund is set up in honor of her parents David and Tillie Greenberg), and the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center.

Payson and her husband, Martin, a renowned media executive and former Vice Chairman of Time Warner Inc., set up the Martin and Doris Payson Foundation. They had a fund dedicated to supporting the New York Jewish Film Festival. Dottie Payson also served on the boards of the United Jewish Appeal and Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

It was her love of the arts and international travel that drew her to the travel agency business where she served an impressive array of clients and earned the description, “travel agent extraordinaire.” She is survived by her husband of 63 years and their children Michele Rosenfield and Leslie and Eric Payson; grandchildren Benjamin, Simon, and Daniel Rosenfield; and son-in-law Mark Rosenfield.

Originally published by SU News.