Students looking up at the camera and holding up signs that spell out, thanks!
Donor Impact Stories

A Night of Gratitude

Festive evening celebrates University donors for their generous support

Posted in: Montclair State University Donors

Four people stood on a stage in front of projector screen reading Donor Celebration, April 21, 2023
President Jonathan Koppell and Foundation Board Chair Greg Collins are joined on stage with seniors Neel Patel and Sabrina Hajsok.

Recognizing the profound impact of philanthropy on Montclair State University students and the University’s excellence, more than 150 guests gathered on April 21 for a Donor Celebration, held in the Alexander Kasser Theater and at an outdoor reception on the Theater promenade.

“This is a fantastic evening to recognize the important role philanthropy plays in the growth of Montclair State University…we couldn’t do everything we do without the support of donors,” said University President Jonathan Koppell.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome you to express our appreciation for all of you who give so much – of your time, your resources and your energy – to help make this University everything it can be,” he shared in his opening remarks.

Among the invited guests were members of the President’s Club, which is the University’s leadership annual giving society; the Carpe Diem Society, those who have committed legacy gifts; and members of the 1908 Loyalty Society, representing donors who give consecutively, some of whom have been donating to Montclair each and every year for more than 30 years.

“Investments in the University create opportunities for students, to take a promise of accessibility and inclusiveness and make it real. This institution has done a remarkable job in showing that we can be both accessible and excellent,” said Koppell.

Alumnus Greg Collins, chair of the Montclair State University Foundation, added his appreciation to donors. “Thanks to your generosity across all areas of the University, we’ve continued to grow resources to support student success,” he said.

Collins pointed out how donor support and engagement helps students on their paths, and how alumni are reconnecting with the University through many affinity groups and volunteer committees, including the University’s Hispanic/Latinx Alumni Network, the Recent Alumni Network, the Future Alumni Network, the Attorney Alumni Network and the Black Alumni Advisory Council.

Student gratitude

A number of Montclair students attended the event, and two shared with the audience the impact Montclair has had on their lives.

“Thanks to the students, faculty and staff at Montclair, I was able to gain the confidence and experience I need to graduate and be successful,” said Sabrina Hajsok, a senior majoring in Filmmaking. “And because of generous scholarship support from donors like you, I was able to focus on my studies and worry less about the financial struggle that college students go through.”

Neel Patel, a senior majoring in Molecular Biology, shared his story of emigrating at age 10 with his family from Gujarat, India and his desire to make healthcare more accessible and relieve some of the struggles he saw growing up.

“Montclair has given me the opportunity to help make a difference that will change the lives of future generations. I want to continue on the path to become a doctor to serve others,” he said. “Thank you for supporting each of the students at Montclair and for providing us with the opportunity to work toward our aspirations. We are better because of you.”

The program included student performances of selections from the Department of Theatre and Dance production of On the Town. Amidst an array of food stations and the serenade of live music by the student jazz quartet, guests mingled and interacted with students who were eager to share their gratitude, their aspirations and their appreciation for their Montclair experience.

“There’s nothing more invigorating than to be witness to what our students are capable of,” said Koppell. “This is what donors are helping to make possible, and I hope they feel great about what they are helping to make happen.”

Photo Gallery

President Jonathan Koppell kicks off the program in the Kasser Theater to welcome donors and friends.
female speaker at lectern
Sabrina Hajsok, a senior Filmmaking major, shares that Montclair students and faculty have had a huge impact on her life.
male speaker at lectern
Neel Patel, a senior Molecular Biology major, thanks donors for their support.
President Koppell praises the talent of the student performers of On The Town.
Group of donors pose for photo in hallway
Donors gather in the Kasser Theater lobby after the performance.
Student Government Association President Richard Steiner-Otoo, President Koppell and Chris Fitzpatrick ’04 enjoy the outdoor reception.
A beautiful backdrop of campus closes out a beautiful gathering.


Story by Director of Development Communications Laura Iandiorio. Photos by John J. LaRosa.