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Gabelli School of Business Celebrates $35 Million Gift, Fordham’s Largest in History

Gabelli100 | Dec 15, 2020 |

Ten years after he made a gift to the business school that now bears his name, investor Mario J. Gabelli, a summa cum laude graduate and 1965 class president of the Gabelli School of Business, made a gift of nearly half of the school’s $75 million goal set to kick off its Centennial Campaign. The gift will be celebrated at the Founder’s Award Dinner in November 2021.

Gabelli’s gift, made by the Gabelli Foundation, supersedes his 2010 donation as the largest single gift in Fordham’s history and will help set the pace of Fordham’s maturing philanthropic culture.

“Words are inadequate to express our gratitude to Mario Gabelli and Regina Pitaro for this second transformative gift, and for their longtime philanthropy and service to Fordham,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University. “It is impossible to overstate the importance of this gift—it will allow us to better prepare more deserving students for positions of leadership in business and finance around the globe. That by itself is deeply impressive but is just a part of the gift’s significance. There is no greater endorsement of the Gabelli School and of Fordham’s mission than a gift of this magnitude coming from two alumni who are ideally situated to understand the University’s strengths and its potential. This generous gift—and Mario and Regina’s previous donations—are a tangible manifestation of the power of a Fordham education. It is a gift not just to an institution, but to the ages. On behalf of the Fordham family and its many generations to come, I thank Mario Gabelli and Regina Pitaro from the bottom of our hearts.”

Donna Rapaccioli; Mario Gabelli; Regina Pitaro; former student Natalie Dowd; PVH Corp. CEO Manny Chirico; and Joseph M. McShane, S.J., at the Gabelli School Centennial celebration in January. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of the Gabelli School, agreed.

“Mario’s incredible gift comes at the perfect time in our history. As we celebrate 100 years of our past, his generosity will allow us to continue to position the Gabelli School as a leader in ethical, innovative, global business education,” she said.

Fordham’s Board of Trustees also extended its gratitude to Gabelli and Pitaro in a Dec. 14 resolution that extolled their “extremely generous support” and “philanthropic leadership.”

This transformative gift will be used in a multitude of ways. It will go toward scholarships for MBA and Ph.D. students as well as enhancement of the MBA program and the Ph.D. program—including faculty support in recognition of outstanding research and industry-relevant innovative teaching. For example, it will be used to expand the Gabelli School’s Student Managed Investment Fund program, which currently has junior and senior finance students working together to invest more than $1 million of Fordham University’s actual endowment. The result—in addition to a proud track record of above-the­benchmark performance—is a hands-on learning experience like no other. The gift will allow for additional portfolios, including an ESG fund for the school’s graduate and undergraduate students to manage.

Gabelli and Pitaro’s gift will support scholarships for students, like those who attended his conversation with Leon Cooperman in May 2019.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert

“A portion of Mario’s gift is being used as a challenge to inspire and motivate other alumni and friends to stand with him as an investor and believer in Dean Rapaccioli’ s vision for the Gabelli School of Business,” said Roger A. Milici Jr., vice president for development and University relations at Fordham.

Gabelli and Pitaro will match dollar-for-dollar scholarship gifts for the Gabelli School’s MBA and Ph.D. students, up to $7 million.

Gabelli is a philanthropist, investor, and Chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors, Inc. A native of the Bronx, his mother was born in Italy, as was his sister. His father returned to Italy from Western Pennsylvania at the age of 2, following his own father’s death in a coal mining accident. In addition to his Fordham degree, he earned an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School in 1967. His wife, Regina M. Pitaro, is a 1976 graduate of Fordham College at Rose Hill and a trustee fellow of Fordham University. Pitaro also holds a master’s degree from Loyola University Chicago and earned her M.B.A. from the Columbia Business School in 1982.

“The underpinning of meritocracy is education. Education requires faculty, facilities, financing, and great students, Gabelli said. “We are privileged to support our Fordham alma mater.”

Note: This story was originally published in the Fordham News and was republished here on GabelliConnect.

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