NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Iona President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., has announced a gift of $15 million from Robert V. LaPenta to the Iona Forever Campaign. It is the largest single gift in the College’s 75-year history, and will support the redesign and transformation of Iona’s School of Business.
“We are enormously grateful for this transformative gift,” said President Nyre. “It will enable us to construct a facility that advances our vision, sharpens our distinctiveness, increases affordability and strengthens infrastructure.”
The LaPenta gift will transform Hagan Hall, the home of Iona’s business school, with a new structure connecting to the existing building -- nearly tripling the space available for students and faculty. It will house state-of-the-art classrooms, case study and meeting spaces, faculty offices, a lecture hall, a business career center and an expanded trading floor classroom. School officials point out that this construction and renovation project will create a facility that fosters the interactive learning environment critical to training 21st-century leaders.
“I am proud to support Iona’s mission of creating graduates that are smart, ethical, creative problem solvers,” said Mr. LaPenta. “My time at Iona prepared me well to be successful in business, and positively impact businesses and the livelihoods of others. I believe this gift will enhance Iona’s strong business school performance and reputation well into the 21st century.”
Iona College’s business school is accredited by AACSB International, a distinction awarded to just 30 percent of business schools worldwide. In late 2014, PayScale ranked Iona’s MBA program as a top-50 program nationally for return on investment.
Mr. LaPenta, an Iona alumnus (’67, 00’H) and Board of Trustee member, is one of the College’s most generous benefactors, previously investing in the construction of the LaPenta Student Union Building, the Ryan library, and the trading floor for the School of Business.
“As a student it’s incredible to see an Iona graduate making this sort of investment,” said Tommy Severin, a senior and member of the honors program who is also president of the Student Government Association. “It really shows how much a very successful individual got from his education and believes in Iona College. On behalf of students today and in the future, thank you, Mr. LaPenta.”
Mr. LaPenta is chairman, CEO and founding partner of Aston Capital, a private investment company specializing in secure military communication companies and companies with green technology. He also serves as chairman and CEO of Revolution Lighting Technologies and The Radiant Group. Prior to these endeavors, Mr. LaPenta founded L-1 Identity Solutions and co-founded L-3 Communications.
The Iona Forever Campaign, with a goal of $150 million, serves as a key component to the College’s comprehensive five-year strategic plan. The transformational campaign will enhance learning and living environments, advance world-class faculty and dynamic academic programs, and support a record level of student scholarships.
To date, Iona’s Board of Trustees, Campaign Cabinet, alumni and friends have raised more than $63.7 million in philanthropic support. This extraordinary commitment underscores the belief in the critical importance of the campaign to the future of Iona College.