Mimi and Edwin Feliciano '82
Mimi and Edwin Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at Montclair State University is a "Dream Come True" for Donors
Mimi Feliciano’s enthusiasm is contagious when she talks about the visionary Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship that she and her husband Edwin have established with a $1 million gift to Montclair State University.
"What students are going through today really resonates with us," Feliciano explained. "It’s a tough, tough time for anyone who is just starting out in business and who feels alone. The right resources and support can make a world of difference in this challenging environment." The Feliciano Center will reflect the dynamism of the entrepreneurial process evident in today’s marketplace by giving students an experiential, action-based approach to learning.
Feliciano is the CEO of FEM Real Estate, LLC, which she owns with Edwin Feliciano '82. The couple had worked in real estate and health club management before they took over her family’s foundering healthcare business after her mother’s death in 1998. "We were outsiders in a uniquely challenging, highly regulated business that was so alien to our previous experience. I don’t know how else to describe it," she recalled. Despite a lack of industry knowledge and support structure, the couple turned the business around, growing it into a 706-bed nursing home complex that is the largest in the state.
"It was very, very difficult. Yet because we were outsiders, we were able to look at the business in a new and different way. That saved us, as we were able to create something new."
The Felicianos sold Lincoln Park Renaissance Rehab & Nursing Center in 2012. Their experience running the health care business fueled the couple’s passion for entrepreneurial studies. "My husband and I can relate to the challenges facing students today and we hope to provide the kind of support we needed."
Growing up, Feliciano viewed her mother as a role model. "I guess you could say I was trained and encouraged to run a business from a young age. I never experienced any limitations or discrimination because I’m a woman." A member of the prestigious Women Presidents' Organization, she hopes to involve fellow women business leaders in supporting the next generation of female entrepreneurs.
Both Mimi and Edwin Feliciano have longstanding ties to Montclair State University. Edwin earned a BS in Business Administration from Montclair State in 1982. While Mimi only attended college for a single year at the University of Miami in Florida, she took an accounting course at Montclair State when she was in her twenties. She has served on the University’s School of Business Advisory Board since 2009.
"It's exciting and inspiring to be part of an initiative that will make such an impact on people’s lives and on the local community. For us, it's a wonderful thing to be able to provide vital resources to Montclair State students. This is a dream come true," Feliciano stated.