Members of Montclair State University’s Carpe Diem Society gathered on Oct. 4 for a recognition luncheon, held at the graduate lounge in the Feliciano School of Business. The event brought alumni, former faculty, loyal donors and friends back to campus to enjoy lunch and a performance by students from the Musical Theatre program.
The Carpe Diem Society recognizes the University’s legacy giving community for its commitment to advance Montclair by establishing gifts through their wills, life insurance policies, retirement designations, trusts or other gift plans.
“We are here today to celebrate you, for shaping the University’s future and making us part of your family,” said Ely Santoni Tuero, senior director of Gift Planning.
Rita Walters, vice president for Development and Alumni Engagement, welcomed guests, sharing, “You’ve promised to keep our mission strong by investing in future students… and I thank you deeply.”
“We cannot be who we are meant to be without you,” said Walters.
President Jonathan Koppell provided updates on University highlights and reinforced the value of investing in something that will persist beyond our lifetimes. “Thank you for making the choice to create something that endures…and allows people to realize their potential,” said Koppell. “I appreciate your commitment to this institution and your view that this is something that is worthy of that investment and that commitment.”
He added a special thank you to the many former faculty members who are part of the Carpe Diem Society, acknowledging how much they’ve already given to the University through their passion to serve students and their contributions to building Montclair’s culture of excellence.
Alumna Claudia Ko ’16, ’18 MA, who earned a bachelor’s in Spanish and a master’s in Educational Leadership, shared how her Montclair experience improved her life, saying, “the merit scholarship that connected me to Montclair was like a one-way ticket to my favorite destination.”
“Thanks to you, the Montclair my aunt attended was fantastic, the Montclair I attended was fantastic, and the one my sister attended was even more fantastic,” said Ko, describing Montclair’s commitment to serve each and every student and “provide an avenue for all.” Ko now works as an associate district manager for ADP, serving small businesses.
Accompanied by pianist Alexander Tom, musical supervisor in the Musical Theatre BFA program, students from the College of the Arts performed the selections “You Shine” from Carrie, “Love Is An Open Door” from Frozen, and “Fine” from Ordinary Days. Students who performed were: Ahmeer Bethea, Shannon Bretz, Caroline Desmarais, Mia Grizzuti, Diogo Ramirez and Anthony Savino.
More than 150 donors are part of the Carpe Diem Society, having informed the University that they’ve included Montclair State University in their estate plans.