Sanford ‘Sandy’ Greenberg has served on the National Science Board, is the creator of the first global database to track antibiotic resistance, he is the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Johns Hopkins University’s Wilmer Eye Institute. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a frequent participant in the World Economic Forum. Together with his wife, Sue, he launched the End Blindness by 2020 Prize. His list of friends and mentors reads like a list of who’s who in the 20th and 21st centuries. Names like Art Garfunkel, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Vice President Al Gore, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, artist Frank Stella, Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman, roommate and real estate baron Jerry Speyer, Tim Zagat – of the guide fame, near brushes with John F. Kennedy, and his long-time mentor, David Rockefeller.
With friends like these, you might imagine Sandy to be a braggadocio. On the contrary. We were lucky to spend almost two hours with Sandy and have shared many follow-up emails. In every moment and every exchange, he made us feel like we were the only people in the world who mattered.
Sandy shared with us a little about his professional history and took a deep dive into moments of harrowing adventure as a newly blind person navigating the Manhattan subway – seemingly alone – only to discover that the potentially misguided exercise was engineered by his best friend, Arthur (you and I know him as one half of Simon & Garfunkel). He takes us through the struggle to return to Columbia University after losing his sight in his junior year and his subsequent degree programs at Harvard and Oxford, his time at the White House, behind the scenes of his friendship with Garfunkel, and his estimation of our obligations to each other as human beings.
I encourage you to grab a seat, a libation, and a Kleenex or two for this incredible journey – and then go pick up your copy (or Kindle) of “Hello Darkness, My Old Friend” to hear even more.
Thank you, Sandy. Even in our brief interactions, you have made an indelible mark on me.