A group of 280 Montclair State University friends, benefactors and community members gathered to raise funds for student scholarships and to honor prominent Essex County residents and business leaders Helane Becker ’79 and Robert Gregory at the Montclair State University Foundation 2016 Annual Scholarship Dinner on April 2, 2016.
The gala dinner broke records by raising more than $754,000
to support Montclair State University’s Second Century Scholarship Fund and the
newly established Creative Talent Award Scholarship Fund. While the Second
Century Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to hundreds of students
of limited economic means, the Creative Talent Award Scholarship Fund will
provide merit-based aid to creative and performing arts students in the
University’s College of the Arts. These scholarships will help today’s students
– and tomorrow’s leaders – pursue and complete their studies at Montclair State.
At the event, Montclair State University President Susan A.
Cole presented Becker with the University’s Margaret and Herman Sokol Award for
Alumni Achievement and Civic Leadership. Gregory received the Rose and John J.
Cali Award for Business Leadership and Community Engagement.
“We are pleased to honor two remarkable and dedicated
champions of Montclair State University,” said Cole. “Bob Gregory and Helane
Becker each have made a significant impact on the University and its students.
Their stature in the community and their philanthropic endeavors make them
exemplary role models for the next generation of leaders.”
The awards highlighted an evening program
featuring performances of selections from Danceworks 2016 – including Pat Graney’s Colleen Ann, Maxine Steinman’s Bach & Forward, Fredrick Earl
Mosley’s Wild and Free and Larry
Keigwin’s Exit Like an Animal – by students in
Montclair State University’s nationally recognized Department of Dance. The
performances were followed by a dinner.
During her distinguished 35-year Wall Street career, Becker has held positions within the research, trading and investment banking departments of Citi, Lehman Brothers and Smith Barney, among others. Today, as managing director at Cowen and Company, she is responsible for equity research on airline and air-related industries. Ranked as a top analyst by Institutional Investor and The Wall Street Journal, Becker is a regular commentator on the airline industry for CNBC and Bloomberg TV. She recently completed a two-year term as a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. She is a past president of The Society of Airline Analysts.
As a member of the Feliciano School of Business Advisory
Board, Becker is an active and engaged advocate for the school who frequently
hosts and attends student networking events. “Helane is a model of the focus
and determination that characterizes so many of our students,” noted Cole.
“It means a great deal to me to receive this recognition,”
Becker said. “My time at the University helped shape the person I am today and
gave me the tools I needed to reach my goals. To be able to give back to the
University and be a mentor to students is a wonderful opportunity, and I
appreciate the honor.”
Now in his fifth year as chair of the Montclair State
University College of the Arts Advisory Board, Robert Gregory is an
enthusiastic supporter of its mission. “Montclair state has been the very
grateful beneficiary of Bob’s passion for and commitment to arts education,”
said Cole. “He has worked tirelessly with the dean to devise creative ways to
attract the most talented students to the University’s prestigious performing
A former actor, Gregory is the founder of the Imagination
Management Group, which provides creative entrepreneurs and innovators in
technology and the arts with legal, financial and operational expertise and
advice. Prior to that, he was Chief Business Officer at Atlas Development
Company. During his 25 years with the company, he helped to grow it from a
start-up to a market leader in health care information technology.
Gregory and his wife, Holly, are dedicated supporters of
important causes, including the New Works initiative at Montclair State. The
couple also serve as Global Ambassadors for Mothers2Mothers, a groundbreaking
program dedicated to eradicating pediatric AIDS in Africa.
“This is a very humbling honor and it lets me know that the
work we are doing is appreciated,” Gregory said. “This is something I am
passionate about and I hope to use this opportunity and this honor to get
others involved in the wonderful things that are happening at Montclair State
A Record-Breaking Event
University Board of Trustee Member Rose Cali ’80; George
Hiltzik of Hiltzik Strategies and Douglas Kennedy of Peapack-Gladstone Bank
served as the event chairs, while past honorees Ralph La Rosa and Ellyn A.
McColgan ’75 served as the evening’s honorary co-chairs.
“Thanks to the hard work of the Montclair State University
Foundation and the event’s chairs and committee members, the 2016 Annual
Scholarship Dinner was a tremendous – and record-breaking – success,” said
Cole. “The money we have raised tonight for student scholarships will ensure
that qualified and talented students, regardless of their financial
circumstances, will have the opportunity to receive a top-quality Montclair
Last year, through support provided by the Annual Scholarship Dinner and other alumni fundraising efforts and donations, the University was able to provide 2,306 deserving students with crucial financial assistance.