Skip Navigation

Irene "Billie" Segal Political Science Excellence Award

This award is named in memory of SUNY Distinguished Professor Jeffrey Segal's mother, Irene "Billie" Segal. The award was generously endowed by Beth Kaye, on behalf of her mother, Sivia Kaye.  Professor Segal and Sivia Kaye had been friends for more than forty years.

Sivia Kaye was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1935, attended New York City public schools, and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1957 when it was tuition-free. She went on to earn a MA from NYU and a PhD from the University of Sarasota. She was hired to teach English at Nassau Community College (NCC). While on the NCC faculty, she began Round Pages, an innovative program to record books on tape for students with visual impairments. She also hosted Personal Prism, a radio show where she interviewed local leaders and personalities.

Sivia’s grandparents were Jewish immigrants who toiled in New York’s sweatshops. Her mother Lily left school at 14 to work in a hat factory because her family needed the money. Sivia’s father Harry also left school young to work in the family business, selling woolen fabric for coats and suits.

Sivia and her brother David both used education as a ladder up into the professional class (David became a doctor). To the end of her life, Sivia was a true believer in the transformative power of education. More than once, she quietly provided financial help to a student she knew was having trouble making tuition.



2023 Recipient

Andy Huang


Past Recipients

Award Year

Award Recipients


Andy Huang