Investor Mario J. Gabelli Establishes Endowed Professorship in Finance at Iona University

Additional pledge will also support strategic initiatives on Iona’s new campus in Bronxville

New Rochelle & Bronxville, N.Y. – Continuing to build on the momentum at Iona University, investor Mario J. Gabelli has generously established an endowed professorship in finance at the LaPenta School of Business. In addition to this gift, a pledge has also been made to advance strategic initiatives on Iona’s new campus in Bronxville, home to the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences.

“On behalf of Iona University, I want to thank Mario and his family for their generous support and shared belief in the power of education,” said President Seamus Carey, Ph.D. “This new endowed professorship will help to attract top talent to Iona as we continue to elevate the level of academic excellence and distinctiveness across the University.”

As founder, chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors, headquartered in Greenwich, Conn., Gabelli is esteemed for his investing acumen. He is also widely celebrated for his philanthropy.

A Bronx native, Gabelli was raised with a strong work ethic and developed an interest in business at a young age. Neither of his parents, however, were educated beyond the sixth grade. His mother spoke minimal English, and Gabelli was raised with Italian as his first language. He would become the first in his family to attend college.

Reflecting during a recent interview, Gabelli credited the academic scholarships he received as being the catalyst for his business success – hence, why most of the Gabelli Foundation’s giving is focused on education.

“It is amazing the difference a good education can make in an individual’s future success,” said Gabelli, who graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University and went on to earn his MBA from Columbia Business School.

The Mario J. Gabelli Endowed Professorship in Finance will establish new opportunities for academic excellence at the newly renovated, state-of-the-art LaPenta School of Business. Accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just 5 percent of business schools worldwide, the LaPenta School of Business has a distinguished track record of educating graduates who are ready to succeed in the workforce. The Princeton Review has also recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as one of the best business schools in the nation.

While not himself an alumnus, Gabelli said he has hired and worked alongside many Iona graduates, and their attitudes toward success have often aligned with his own.

All the positive momentum emanating out of Iona under President Carey’s leadership sparked Gabelli’s interest in investing in the University, he said, noting that institutions of higher education ultimately need financial resources, facilities, top faculty and students to continue to elevate and accelerate their success.   

“Because of my belief in giving back where I was helped, which is education, the great underpinning of meritocracy, I want to assist institutions that are already succeeding in order to accelerate their success,” Gabelli said. “The ‘PHD’ attitude – ‘Passionate, Hungry, Driven’ – that is now all over Iona t-shirts is really appropriate to my view of success in life.”

On July 1, 2022, Iona officially changed its status from College to University, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.

An anomaly in higher education, Iona has grown new student enrollment more than 30 percent over the past three years despite the headwinds facing the industry. 

Building on that momentum and demand, Iona nearly doubled its footprint in May 2021 by acquiring the 28-acre campus of Concordia College in nearby Bronxville, N.Y. Soon thereafter, Iona announced the creation of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences with a $20 million gift from one of the nation’s top hospitals. Earlier this month, Iona opened the school’s new state-of-the-art flagship building, the Kelly Center for Health Sciences.

Gabelli has also pledged an investment toward strategic initiatives in Bronxville, saying the vision President Carey has brought to the new campus is what he and his family look for when identifying entities for philanthropic support.

“President Carey brings momentum,” Gabelli said. “What I believe in in terms of education and success is what Iona stands for.”

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just six percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.