A Decade of Distinction — A New Culture of Philanthropy


A Decade of Distinction — FDU Magazine Summer/Fall 2009


A New Culture of Philanthropy

“I think what has been most gratifying during the current capital campaign,” said Rick Reiss, senior vice president for University advancement, “is that for the first time in the University’s history we have a large group of volunteers committed to furthering our mission through philanthropy. There are more than 30 people on the FDU NOW Steering Committee. Add to that the enthusiasm of the Board of Trustees and you begin to see how we have raised more than $40 million in the last four years.”

Marshal Bartlett, left, and Rick Reiss, senior vice president for University advancement

FDU NOW, the University’s capital campaign, is seeking to raise $50 million by 2010 to support the construction of a new library at the College at Florham (The John and Joan Monninger Center for Learning and Research), and a new Student Union Building on the Metropolitan Campus, scholarships, improvements to athletics facilities, the University’s endowment and the Fund for FDU. (To learn more about FDU NOW, go to www.fdu.edu/FDUNOW.)

“It all began with a $1-million donation from John and Joan Monninger,” said Reiss. “Once the bar was raised, there was no stepping back.”

In 2004, alumnus John Monninger, BS’65 (M), and his wife, Joan, made the first million-dollar gift to the University in more than a dozen years. Shortly thereafter, Anthony Petrocelli, BS’69 (M), and his wife, Ann, committed $4 million to the University, and FDU NOW Campaign Chair Gregory Olsen, BS’66, BS’68, MS’68 (T), committed $5 million, the largest gift ever at FDU.

Edward Hennessy, BS'55 (R)

Others making commitments of a million dollars or more include Edward Hennessy, Jr., BS’55 (R), trustee emeritus; trustee Vincent Naimoli, MBA’64 (M), and the estate of Valerie Becton Mills.

“People began to recognize that Fairleigh Dickinson University, with its emphasis on global education, was an institution worth supporting,” said J. Michael Adams, the University’s president. “Since the inception of FDU NOW, giving has quadrupled.”

Marshal Bartlett is a retired Exxon executive who teaches in the University’s Silberman College of Business. When asked to join the FDU NOW Steering Committee, he did so without reservation. “There comes a time in one’s life when you recognize the importance of those institutions that make a difference in the world. During my many years at Exxon, I witnessed the tremendous growth and maturation of the University. Now, as a member of its faculty, I’m not only able to participate in the University’s development, but I’m able to see first-hand the positive impact of the University on its students and all those affiliated with it.”

Bartlett continues, “It was easy to say yes when the opportunity to support the University though FDU NOW was brought to my attention. The FDU NOW Steering Committee is comprised of some very caring people who, through words and actions, are bringing about important changes at the University through philanthropy.”

Gregory Olsen, BS'66, BS'68, MS'68 (T)

“We measure philanthropy in many ways,” said Reiss. “It’s easy to look at the dollars and say, ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money.’ Yet, when all is said and done, it’s really about the impact — what we have done with the money that was generously donated to the University.”

As a result of FDU NOW, there are dozens of new scholarships to assist the University’s most worthy and needy students, there is a new indoor track in Stratis Arena at the Rothman Center on the Metropolitan Campus, there are new endowed chairs and programs, and soon the University will break ground on a new library at the College at Florham and a new Student Union Building on the Metropolitan Campus.

“That’s impact,” says Bartlett. “We know we’re making a difference when right before our eyes we can see the immediate and long-term effects of all that we are doing to better the University.”

“Clearly, these are challenging times,” said Reiss. “Yet the wonderful news is that philanthropy remains a vibrant part of our culture despite what’s happened to our economy.”

Reiss added, “There’s always a new opportunity on the horizon. FDU NOW’s success will bring about dramatic change and lay the foundation for the University’s next major capital campaign. At the end of the day, what we have done is establish philanthropy as integral to the success of the University.”

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Link to Mission Milestones & Highlights — FDU-VancouverLink to Faculty Profiles — Jason ScorzaLink to A Sense of MissionLink to New and Enhanced FacilitiesLink to Athletics AccomplishmentsLink to A New Culture of PhilanthropyLink to FDU Alumni AssociationLink to A Message from J. Michael Adams