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Donor Impact Stories

Creating Pathways to Success

Montclair resident Julia Lanigan supports generations of students through the Future College Graduate Academy

Posted in: Montclair State University Donors

Julia Lanigan in front of paintings

For Montclair resident Julia Lanigan, ensuring that students can transform their lives through education is a priority.

At 17, Julia fled with her family to the United States as a refugee from her birthplace of Hungary, finding work and settling in Passaic, New Jersey. She grew up with a strong work ethic and developed a deep appreciation for fine art, theater and music. “Art was always part of our lives. It improved our quality of life even when life was not very good.”

Julia studied chemistry and worked as a chemist for American Cyanamid for more than 26 years. She later joined her husband at Humana Press, the scientific publishing company he founded, and worked there 15 years, selling the company after his death.

“My own experience has given me a great appreciation for the importance of access and excellence to higher education, and how this opportunity, combined with hard work, provides a pathway to achieve success in America,” Julia says.

Her belief in Montclair State University’s mission led to her generous leadership support over the years by serving on the College of the Arts Advisory Board and regularly donating to the College, especially to student scholarships.

Valuing education and benefiting from scholarships as a young immigrant, Julia recently established the Julia Bartko Lanigan Fund and has named the Montclair State University Foundation as a beneficiary of her trust to create the Julia Bartko Lanigan Endowed Fund. Her latest gift and intention will support the priorities of the Future College Graduate Academy, which will create life-changing opportunities for highly motivated, low-income scholars for generations to come.

“I believe in social equity for all. I want to help students who have the drive to become successful in their academic pursuits, a commitment to social justice and a desire to be productive citizens.”

Show students you believe in their efforts and commitment to a Montclair State University education with a gift in your estate plan. To learn more, contact Ely F. Santoni, CFRE at 973-655-3695 or