Martin E. Segal founded the Martin E. Segal Company in 1939 and served as its President until 1967, as Chairman from 1967 to 1991 and as Chairman Emeritus until his passing in August 2012. During and after World War II, Mr. Segal was a pioneer in the creation and establishment of health and pension benefits for employees via multiemployer trust funds established through collective bargaining, single-employer benefit plans and government plans in states, cities and towns.
Mr. Segal was frequently cited in newspapers and magazines as an authority on pension, health insurance and collectively bargained programs. He served as a columnist for the Associated Press and helped to found The Public Interest, a quarterly publication devoted to domestic social and economic issues.
In addition to his role as a benefits expert, Mr. Segal was active in civic affairs. From 1961 to 1970, he was a member of the National Board of the National Urban League. He served on the Board of Hospitals in the City of New York from 1962 to 1970 and subsequently on the Board of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. In 1974, Mr. Segal chaired a committee study on the role of the arts in the economic well-being of the city of New York — the first study of its kind. The committee recommended the first Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of New York, a new agency of the city government. Mr. Segal was appointed the first Chairman of the Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs of the City of New York in 1975, where he served until 1977. Mr. Segal had a long relationship with Lincoln Center, beginning with his role as Founding President of the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 1968, serving as Chairman from 1981 to 1986 and then as Chairman Emeritus. He was Chairman of The New York International Festival of the Arts from 1985 until its conclusion in 2002; first Chairman of New York City Arts Education Week in 1998; a founding member of the Board of Directors of Public Radio International; a founding advisor of the Board of Directors of The Library of America; and a Trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton from 1972 to 1991 and then a Trustee Emeritus. He is a former board member of nearly two dozen other cultural and educational organizations, including the Graduate Center Foundation, Inc. of the City University of New York.
Over his long career, Mr. Segal received numerous awards and honors from city, state and foreign institutions, including the New York City Mayor's Award of Honor for Arts and Culture (1982), the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star (1984), the New York State Governor's Arts Award (1989), the National Arts Club Medal of Honor (1992), and the Living Landmark Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy (2005). Mr. Segal was the recipient of honorary doctorates from Pratt Institute (1976), Mannes College of Music (1976), the Graduate Center, City University of New York (1979), Long Island University (1986), New York University (1988), Manhattan School of Music (1999), and The Juilliard School (2006).