Remembering Chair Emeritus Ira Lipman
Ira Lipman, a longtime champion for NCCD, died September 16 in New York City at age 78.
The NCCD Board of Directors Chair Emeritus from 1996 until his passing, Lipman held many NCCD board leadership roles over the years. After joining the board in 1975, Lipman went on to serve as treasurer, vice chairman, chair of the executive committee, and chairman of the board.
Lipman’s interest in social justice began at an early age, as he took notice of the prejudice and discrimination around him in his native Little Rock, Arkansas. As a teenager, Lipman attended the city’s Central High School and was a student there in 1957, the year the school was desegregated. As conflict around the school’s desegregation grew, garnering the interest of national news outlets, Lipman was one of several students who denounced segregation on TV. He also served as an anonymous news source to NBC journalist John Chancellor as Chancellor reported on Central High School’s desegregation. Lipman’s respect for Chancellor continued through the years, and in 1995 Lipman founded the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, given annually by the Columbia University School of Journalism.
Lipman’s professional career was focused on the private security firm he founded in 1963 in Memphis, Tennessee: Guardsmark. He also continued working toward social change. “I don’t think we should lock up people and put them in a cage when there are better ways to do things,” Lipman said. “A lot of people don’t want to solve the root problem.”
Reflecting on his death, NCCD CEO Kathy Park said, “Mr. Lipman will forever be among the most unique and memorable people I’ve had the opportunity to know in my lifetime. In addition to his service and support of NCCD, he gave of his time and wisdom to support my personal leadership in an organization he cared deeply about. Throughout the course of his lifetime, he lent his position and resources to address systemic injustice and create a better and safer world. He leaves an indelible legacy.”
Along with growing a hugely successful business and supporting NCCD, Lipman was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a trustee of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a member of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School, and the Honorary Chairman for Life of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He also wrote How to Be Safe, a book that was published in 1975 and has been revised in five editions.
Lipman is survived by his wife, Barbara, and three sons.