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Donor Impact Stories

Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr. and Inserra Supermarkets

Posted in: Montclair State University Donors

Lawrence Inserra Jr.

As a family business, Inserra Supermarkets is committed to serving the community, and under the leadership of Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, giving back is at the heart of all it does.

In recognition of their family and community focus and their impact on Montclair State University, Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr., and Inserra Supermarkets were awarded the Rose and John J. Cali Award for Business Leadership and Community Engagement at the March 9 Annual Scholarship Dinner.

The Inserra family has generously supported a number of University initiatives, including student scholarships, the Emergency Book Fund, Athletics, the Coccia Institute, the Red Hawk Pantry, and the Theresa and Lawrence R. Inserra Endowed Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies. The Inserra Endowed Chair, led by Dr. Teresa Fiore, Associate Professor of Italian, is designed to promote Italian and Italian American Studies to serve students, to support faculty and to benefit the community, providing cultural programming with renowned artists, scholars and professionals from both Italy and the U.S., paid internships for students with an international component, summer courses for high school students and scholarly endeavors that have produced symposia, articles and an award-winning book.

“Larry Inserra’s donation and the creation of the endowment have really placed Italian Studies at Montclair State University on the national – and the international – map,” says Fiore. “I feel very fortunate to be able to work in contact with a donor like Larry whose vision for this university, for the new generation of students, and for the community at large, has created a unique opportunity for us to think about Italy, not just in terms of preservation of culture, but in a contemporary, dynamic, and most important of all, interdisciplinary way.”

Inserra Supermarkets also has been at the forefront of support for the Red Hawk Pantry since the pantry’s inception in 2016 by Student Development and Campus Life to serve the needs of students struggling with issues of food insecurity. Sonja Tillman, coordinator of the Red Hawk Pantry, says the pantry can see up to 80 students in a week at times.

“You can’t learn if you’re hungry, and the Inserra family is making a huge difference for our students,” says Tillman. “I have seen students come in here and actually burst into tears because they didn’t know how they were going to eat.”

Inserra Supermarkets provided a refrigerator for the pantry so it could offer fresh food items to students and also has donated a freezer and ongoing food supplies. “Thanks to the continued support of the Inserra family, we’re able to keep our pantry open and feed the students who need it,” says Tillman.

At the core of Inserra’s support is the desire to help students succeed, and on every level – from supporting students’ basic needs to helping them develop career skills – Inserra and his company are making a lasting impact.

“Larry comes to campus to meet students and congratulate them…he is always curious about what they have been able to do with the resources made available by his support and always ready to do more to help students in the future,” says Fiore.