Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit Presented to George Kellner ’64
Prepared by Zoltán Fehér, press attaché, Embassy of Hungary, Washington, D.C.
Ambassador Ferenc Somogyi presented George A. Kellner ’64 with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary on May 28, 2009. At the initiative of the Embassy of Hungary, the president of the Republic of Hungary, László Sólyom, awarded the honor to Kellner in recognition of his support for Hungarian students studying in the United States and his assistance to Hungarian higher education, including support for the American studies discipline in Hungary.
At the award ceremony, Ambassador Somogyi praised the work of the awardee as the founder of the Kellner Foundation. Zoltán Fehér, the Embassy’s press attaché and a former Kellner Scholar, read the laudation before Ambassador Somogyi presented Kellner with the Officer’s Cross. The award ceremony was attended by the Kellner Family, including Paul J. Kellner, recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit in 2003; former and current Kellner scholars; Tamás Magyarics, professor of American studies at Eötvös Loránd University; and Ron Joyce, vice president for college advancement, representing Trinity College.
George Kellner established the Kellner Foundation in the 1990s with his father, Paul Kellner. Since then, the foundation has made it possible for more than 100 Hungarian students to study at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, or at Trinity College for an academic year. The foundation has also sponsored the studies of American students with modest financial backgrounds as well as supported the Department of American Studies at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.
Kellner is the founder and chief executive officer of Kellner DiLeo & Co., LLC. He has been in the arbitrage business for 25 years and founded KDC Merger Arbitrage Fund, LP in 1981. Prior to Kellner, DiLeo & Co., he was a senior vice president and founded the arbitrage department of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Before commencing his arbitrage career, Kellner was a vice president and house counsel of the Madison Fund, where he had broad responsibilities as a financial analyst and portfolio manager. He began his professional career as a securities lawyer at the Wall Street law firm of Carter, Ledyard and Milburn. He holds a B.A. from Trinity, a J.D. from Columbia Law School, and an M.B.A. from New York University’s Leonard Stern Graduate School of Business. Kellner is a chartered financial analyst and a former adjunct assistant professor of finance at New York University.