Largest Family Endowment at Iona University, The DeFeo Family Endowed Scholarship, Receives New Investment

New Rochelle and Bronxville, N.Y. – There is a deeply felt commitment at Iona University that “Gaels Take Care of Gaels.” For Ron DeFeo ’74,’13H and Andrea DeFeo, that credo and the responsibility of giving back are at the heart of their philanthropy.

The DeFeo Family Endowed Scholarship, which they established in 2004, aims to advance the academic careers of undergraduate students who are selected based on academic quality, financial need, demonstrated leadership ability and a commitment to excellence.

Currently the largest family endowment at Iona, the DeFeo Family Endowed Scholarship has provided 150 awards to 71 students, totaling more than $1.5 million in financial aid since 2004.

In addition, Ron and Andrea DeFeo recently made a significant gift that has increased the endowment by 17 percent to a total of more than $4.8 million in the endowment, which will provide an average of nine to 12 scholarships each academic year. 

“I am deeply grateful to the DeFeo family for their generous support of my education at Iona,” said Ryan Murphy ’25. “Because of this scholarship, I am able to maximize my experience at Iona without the worry over finances. It means the world to me and I am so thankful to them for helping me build my future.”

“Receiving this scholarship has filled me with joy,” said Natalia Guiracocha ’25. “The DeFeo family has lifted a big weight off my shoulders. I am deeply grateful to them for their incredible generosity.”

But for all that the DeFeo Family Endowed Scholarship has accomplished over the past nearly 20 years, Ron DeFeo said, more needs to done.

“The need is great and many of my fellow alumni are now in a position to share their success by giving back to current students,” he said. “Establishing an endowed scholarship doesn’t require an all-up-front gift. By pledging over time, it all adds up quickly. And knowing that you’re making a difference for even one student at Iona is truly lifechanging.”

Learn more about making a gift and supporting students at Iona. You may also contact Christine Maloney Downes ’05, senior director of development, at or (914) 637-7749.

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.