Masters of the Art of Giving

Photo by Mike Peters

Four generations of the family of alumna Rita E. Ranucci attended a recent ceremony dedicating The Ranucci Family Rehearsal Hall, within the John J. Cali School of Music, located in Chapin Hall , and announcing the establishment of a $1 million gift to Montclair State University. Ranucci earned a BA in Music from Montclair State in 1964 and both of her parents are alumni as well.

As Thanksgiving approaches, the College of the Arts wishes to give thanks to those who have made generous gifts and have supported the College over the years: our donors and patrons, whose generosity has helped us in so many ways -- from funding scholarships, to building state-of-the-art facilities, and supporting our academic and cultural programming.

Scholarships and grant awards are often the deciding factor in whether a student pursues higher education or not. Gifts to Montclair State make it possible for thousands of students -- including those at the College of the Arts -- to pursue their educational goals.

“Philanthropy at [the College of the Arts] often focuses on opportunity and excellence,” said David Graham, the College’s Major Gifts Officer. “Opportunity comes with the Montclair State arts education – as achievement, talent and need-based financial resources are provided to students who would not otherwise be able to attend.

“Excellence also comes with the Montclair State arts education – a blend of arts-conservatory training, liberal arts education, and real-world industry experiences,” Graham added.

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At the John J. Cali School of Music, the list of donors is headed by the man after whom the school is named: the now late-John Cali, a real-estate developer who later retired as chairman emeritus from the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation in 2003. In 2008, Mr. Cali, a music lover, and his family made a $5 million gift to Montclair State that helped the University to establish a music school that bears his name. Since then, the Cali School has been helping empower others to realize their dreams of becoming professional musicians and music educators. (Read about the University's tribute to Mr. Cali here.)

Hired as Montclair State's first full-time piano teacher in 1948, Professor Emeritus Murray Present, who died in December 2012, left more than $400,000 to the University to establish an endowed scholarship to support students studying piano at the Cali School. (Read more here.)

Two additional philanthropic endowments,  donated by alumni of the Cali School, announced in May are helping to ensure students continue to make music for generations to come. First, came the establishment of the Gene Consales Endowed Music Scholarship Fund. Alumnus Consales (’50), who died in 2011 at age 87, was a talented musician and composer who gave up a promising Broadway career to do what he loved best: teach. Endowed with a $1 million gift, the scholarship fund will provide support to vocal music students. (Read more here.)

Second, came the announcement that alumna Rita E. Ranucci, who earned a BA in Music from Montclair State in 1964 and whose parents are also Montclair alumni, established a $1 million irrevocable planned gift to create a Ranucci Family Legacy to benefit diverse initiatives. The generous gift was recognized in a naming ceremony of the Ranucci Family Rehearsal Hall in the Cali School of Music. (Read more here.)

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The School of Communication and Media's (SCM) Center for Cooperative Media reflects the SCM's commitment to media innovation and journalistic collaboration. The Center, through its partners, serves New Jersey's news ecosystem and is a focal point for expanding news and information in the state. Through major investments by the University and generous gifts from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Center leverages the resources of the School’s many facilities and partnerships. The results include joint ventures that ensure deeper news coverage of New Jersey and greater distribution means for New Jersey-centric news and information.  Building this focal point for New Jersey media also provides SCM students with unique on-campus work-study and internship opportunities and a curriculum that provides direct engagement with media. (Read more here.)

Montclair resident Jim Leitner has been a supporter of important programs at the SCM, including arranging a campus visit by Harvard Prof. Lawrence Lessig recently, as well as sponsoring the Salon Series program.

Alumna Patricia DiFlauro Piroh  (MA, '88 '92) and her husband, Doug, established two scholarships for students in the School, where she serves as associate director of Broadcast and Digital Media Operations. The scholarships honor her late parents, Angelo and Margaret DiFlauro, and her aunt, Mary C. Lozada. (Read more here.)

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In 1962, the then-School of Fine and Performing Arts (later to become the College of the Arts) established its first Montclair State University Art Gallery, made possible by a generous donation of artwork by Dr. Oscar and Mrs. Rose Cosla of Romania. Over the years since its inception, the University Art Gallery strengthened its commitment to the exhibition of compelling contemporary art. In 1999, a second indoor gallery was established -- Gallery One -- in order to provide students, faculty, and other professional artists with an additional venue in which to exhibit their work. While the original galleries were eventually converted to alternative uses, in 2006 the University committed resources to establish a new state-of-the-art gallery to be named after the renowned sculptor George Segal, thanks to the generosity of the George and Helen Segal Foundation. The George Segal Gallery serves as the flagship facility of the University's Art Galleries, boasting more than 3,000 square feet of exhibition space and 3,300 square feet of office, classroom and storage space. In November 2013, the Segal Gallery received six prints by Andy Warhol as a gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Part of the Warhol Foundation’s mission has been to ensure that the many facets of Warhol’s complex body of work are both widely accessible and receive proper care. The donated prints are signed artist’s and printer’s proofs that were never meant to be sold and have never been framed or publicly displayed. (Read more here.) Additional University exhibition spaces include the MFA Gallery, Gallery 3 ½ and the Cosla Collection housed in the Alexander Kasser Theater lobby.

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This year, the state-of-the-art Alexander Kasser Theater, built in 2004, marked its tenth anniversary on November 1 with a sold-out fund-raising gala that helped raise more than $300,000 to support the performing arts at Montclair State. Over the past decade, the Kasser stage has been home to dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov, renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones, MacArthur Award Fellows Liz Lerman and Susan Marshall, and performance artist Laurie Anderson – not to mention our own music, theatre, and dance students. The Kasser Theater came into existence, in part, through the remarkable and generous support of the Mochary/Kasser family -- in particular, Mary Mochary and Michael Kasser -- which led to the naming of the theatre in recognition of their father, Alexander Kasser. (Read more here.)

It takes more than a village to build an institution such as Montclair State University and its thriving academic colleges such as the College of the Arts. The above are just a few examples of remarkable giving over the years that has impacted the growth of the College and its recognition as a state-designated “Center of Excellence in the Arts.”  In addition to our donors' contributions, each year, thousands of patrons support the College's arts and cultural programming through the purchase of event tickets which, in turn, support our students' education and, by extension, the cultural economy at large.  

“We thank the many individuals, foundations and corporations whose generous support has made our success possible,” Graham added.

 If you are interested in contributing to Montclair State University, please visit here.