Skip Navigation
Stanley Dashew opens doors for international studentsStanley Dachew

Stanley Dashew opens doors for international students

Philanthropist supports global programs and believes the way to peace is though communication and getting to know people from other parts of the world.

By Kassy Cho for the Daily Bruin

At the age of 12, Stanley Dashew would go door-to-door in his Harlem neighborhood selling peaches to make money.

Decades later, when he broke his hip at age 90, he invented the Dashaway, a rehabilitation machine that improved his condition and allowed him to walk again.

Dashew, who recently turned 95, has displayed this perseverance and grit throughout his life. A serial entrepreneur who founded a company for embossing machines that laid the foundations of the plastic credit card industry, Dashew, who lends his name to UCLA’s International Student Center, also believes in international understanding.

Dashew was born in Harlem to immigrant parents from Russia. His mother taught English to immigrants in the early part of the 20th century, said his daughter, Leslie Dashew.

Stanley Dashew was influenced by his own family coming to America from overseas and his mother’s continued connection with immigrants, Leslie Dashew said.

“He believes that the way to peace is by giving people from different parts of the world the opportunity to get to know each other,” Leslie Dashew said.

This belief led him to become involved with UCLA’s International Student Center after attending a fundraising dinner at the ISC in the late 1950s, she said.

Stanley Dashew’s support allowed the ISC to relocate from its original location on Hilgard to its current location on the corner of Gayley Avenue and Strathmore Drive, said Bob Ericksen, director of the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars.

“Although constructing the new building took a lot of time and money, it was the best decision I ever made,” said Stanley Dashew, who communicated through an interpreter because he is affected by Parkinson’s disease, which impedes his speech.

Dashew never attended UCLA and was 15 credit hours short of finishing his college degree, according to his biography, “You Can Do It.”

In 2000, he was awarded with the UCLA Medal, UCLA’s highest honor and the equivalent of an honorary doctorate degree, for his contributions to the Dashew Center.

Her father is very involved with the international community at UCLA despite never attending the university, Leslie Dashew said.

Stanley Dashew said it is his second family.

He is the chairman on the Dashew Board of Directors, the group that provides the majority of the funding to support the social and cultural programs that facilitate the adjustment of international students, Ericksen said.

At most universities, international student centers are limited to visa-advising and only hold social events on occasion, Ericksen said.

UCLA is among less than a handful of universities that provides programs such as the global siblings program out of its international center, he said.

Despite having suffered two broken hips and undergoing surgery, Dashew is still very much a presence on campus, often attending the events held by the Dashew Center, Ericksen said.

He shares his love of boats with international students, who he often takes sailing along the coast up to Malibu, a trip he does almost every weekend, Leslie Dashew said.

Dashew said her father often referred to the Dashew Center as a “giant Mix Master,” a place where people could come to share their ideas and blend together.

He has a sense that people are connected across the world and have much to learn from others, said Leslie Dashew, who is also on the Dashew Board.

It is important that we create the opportunities for the connections, she said.

Stanley Dashew is celebrating his 95th birthday in private with about 300 guests this Sunday at Covel Commons’ Grand Horizon Room.

“I’m happy because my body is in good shape,” he said.

He will also be dancing that night.

UCLA International Institute