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Iona Forever Newsletter

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  • Iona Names School of Business After Alumnus and Benefactor

    Mr. LaPenta in front of the board displaying thank you notes from students.

    In a festive celebration on Wednesday, September 12, Iona College announced the naming of its School of Business in honor of alumnus, Board of Trustee member and benefactor Robert V. LaPenta ’67, ’00H. The College’s AACSB accredited business program will henceforth carry the name LaPenta School of Business.

    “Loyal and true to his alma matter, when Iona College calls, Bob LaPenta picks up the telephone,” said Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., president of Iona College. “When Iona identified a need, Bob was there to help. He accepted the invitation in 1999 to join our Board of Trustees to lead and serve Iona College. When Iona needed a new student union, Bob stepped up and said, ‘I’ll do that.’ When Iona needed a trading floor, Bob said, ‘I’ll help with that, too.’ When Iona prioritized a new business school, Bob said, ‘I will help.’ So, it is with deep appreciation and in recognition of his indelible impact on Iona College, that the Iona College Board of Trustees is so very pleased to proclaim that our renowned business school will now officially bear the LaPenta name.”

    Mr. LaPenta was one of three children raised in Yonkers, N.Y., by first-generation Italian-American immigrants. Like many of Iona’s alumni and students, he was the first member of his family to attend college. He understood the power of a college education and the potential it had to transform his life. He earned his BBA in 1967 from the School of Business, which now bears his name. “I am truly honored for this distinction bestowed today,” said Mr. LaPenta, “My time at Iona College and my business degree prepared me well for success and for the ability to positively impact the lives and livelihoods of others. I look forward to seeing future students of Iona College receive a robust business education and grow into the future leaders and entrepreneurs of the world.”

    Mr. LaPenta has more than 40 years of executive management experience and is currently founding general partner of Aston Capital Partners, a private investment company specializing in military intelligence, homeland security companies and companies involved in green technology. He also serves as chairman and CEO of Revolution Lighting Technologies and The Radiant Group. Previously, Mr. LaPenta founded L–1 Identity Solutions and co-founded L–3 Communications.

    The LaPenta School of Business offers high-quality academic programs in all aspects of business. The undergraduate business program consists of a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in one of seven business disciplines, including Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, Information Systems, International Business, Management and Marketing. As of fall 2018, Iona has launched an exciting new MBA program, which is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective and requires only 39 credits to attain the degree. In addition, the LaPenta School of Business offers three specialized Master of Science degrees.

    Dean William Lamb, Robert V. LaPenta, and President Joseph E. Nyre in front of the banner announcing the LaPenta School of Business.

    A transformational gift of $17.5 million to the Iona Forever campaign from LaPenta laid the foundation for the construction of a new School of Business building. A groundbreaking held on July 26, 2018, launched the eighteen-month build of the $37 million facility that will double the current academic space to more than 67,260 square feet and create a world-class learning environment for Iona’s students. The renovated building and addition will feature large new classroom and lecture hall spaces, spaces for collaboration amongst students and faculty, and offices for all business faculty.

    William B. Lamb, Ph.D., dean of the LaPenta School of Business said, “Our new business school building is being created for the benefit of all of Iona’s students. It will provide all who study in it with the best tools, the most effective spaces, and the most up-to-date technology. And most important, it will make it possible for us to create a much stronger sense of community. Faculty, staff and students will all be working in the same building. There will be event spaces, meeting rooms where students can work with their teammates on class projects, and an atrium that will provide a new crossroads for the campus.”

    “Bob LaPenta has been a loyal and staunch friend to his alma mater,” added Nyre, “and has once again transformed and enriched the lives of students of Iona College. For this we remain most grateful.”

    White and Maroon confetti rains down as the announcement is made.
  • Science is About Doing...and with a Renovated Lab, Students Can Do More

    Dr. Lee helps a student perform an experiment in the lab.

    The need for professionals in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields is rapidly growing in the United States and around the world. As a result, STEM education has become a national priority.

    The success of a STEM program depends on an institution’s ability to provide students with learning opportunities that go beyond books and conventional classroom teaching.

    “Science is about doing,” says Sunghee Lee, Ph.D., Board of Trustees Endowed Professor of Science and Chair of Chemistry at Iona College. “Outcomes from standard classroom teaching are not good enough. Participation in independent research makes students more competitive in the marketplace and prepares them for greater success.”

    To become a true leader in science education, Iona must create a state-of-the-art instrumentation lab, which would serve as a hub for all independent, hands-on student and faculty research.

    “Our students are performing high-caliber research,” Dr. Lee said. Samuel Braziel ’18, ACS Chemistry major, recently coauthored a paper, which was published in a prestigious chemistry journal. Other students have published as well, and recently, seventeen Iona students presented research to the international chemistry community at the 254th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C.

    Libby Miller ’19, ACS Chemistry major says, “The research we’re doing allows us to understand how drugs interact with the cell membrane. It has significant impact for the medical field. An updated lab will allow us to deepen our research, gain more information and create more projects.”

    Cornelia Hall, built in 1940, houses the science laboratories. Though Cornelia recently underwent a significant renovation, the instrumentation lab was not included in that renovation. Updated equipment and a user-friendly, space-efficient design will provide a safer, more inviting environment for students, as well as opportunities to collaborate and share research.

    Dr. Lee is not the only one who recognizes the important work being done by Iona in the sciences. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Iona a grant to support scholarships for students majoring in chemistry.

    “The students are doing impressive work,” says Dr. Lee. “An updated lab will help us to draw new students and provide the equipment, encouragement and space to continue performing important research.”

    Iona has set a goal of raising $350,000 through the Iona Forever campaign to support student success and make this renovation a reality. For more information and to participate, please contact Pamela Bottge '92, assistant vice president for Advancement & Alumni Engagement, at or (914) 633-2413.

  • Iona College Emergency Fund Helps Keep Students on Track for Success

    Brother Devlin speaks with 3 students.

    Our students and their families work hard, plan carefully and make sacrifices for an Iona education. But for some students, any unexpected expense, even a small one, can threaten that student’s ability to continue at Iona.

    "Too often, small financial issues spell the end of college for low-income students," says Brother J. Kevin Devlin, Ed.D., ’61.

    The cost of textbooks, a car repair, or a small tuition balance can be factors that disrupt a student’s pursuit of a degree.

    Since 2002, Brother J. Kevin Devlin, senior director for Student Success, has been raising money to help students overcome these obstacles and go on to graduate. The Iona College Student Emergency Fund has helped many students; however, every year, more students find them-selves in some kind of financial emergency.

    "A student recently revealed to me that he is the primary provider for his family," Br. Devlin said. "In addition to paying his tuition, he is supporting his family by paying for rent, food and utilities. Through the Emergency Fund, I was able to award him a voucher to purchase his books, thus alleviating a small portion of his financial burden and allowing him to successfully continue his coursework."

    Iona College is committed to helping provide the support that will assist these students in completing their degrees. As part of Iona’s overall student success strategy, students can apply for small grants to help cover such expenses as:

    • Food (meal cards);
    • Transportation needs;
    • Books and other essential supplies;
    • Tuition, fees.

    This emergency funding is designed to provide short-term financial assistance to students who are managing demanding academic requirements while struggling with financial circumstances. Provided in the form of one-time awards, these funds are not loans that students are expected to repay. The value of the award will range in response to the needs of the student but typically will not exceed $1,000.

    "In some of these circumstances, as little as $100 can mean the difference between a student continuing at Iona or dropping out," says Br. Devlin.

    If you would like to make a gift or pledge to the Iona College Student Emergency Fund and help us support these students in need, please contact Pamela Bottge ’92, assistant vice president for Advancement & Alumni Engagement, at (914) 633-2413 or

  • Making An Impact: Student Focus

    Finance Club Leaders

    Joe Dasilva Joe DaSilva ’20 Erin Kelly Erin Kelly ’20

    Iona College Finance Club leaders, Joe DaSilva ’20, who is double-majoring in finance and economics, and Erin Kelly ’20, a finance major with a minor in economics, are excited about the new LaPenta School of Business.

    “It is so important to have all the business disciplines under one roof,” said Joe, president of the club. “So many of the fields intersect, and the new building will allow students and faculty from all areas of business to share ideas and learn from one another.”

    Vice president Erin agrees. “As the physical building progresses, the business program will be progressing, too. Iona will continue to produce future leaders.”

    They also see exciting developments for the Finance Club where Joe and Erin strive to create an environment where students can network with peers and alumni, while gaining professional experience. “The Iona alumni are always willing to help out,” said Erin. “Several of our club members have gained valuable internships through alumni connections.” Joe added, “We have great alumni, and we hope to get even more of them involved this year.”

    Another event Joe and Erin are looking forward to is the TD Ameritrade stock trading simulation, which the Finance Club will be competing against 400 other schools for a $30,000 grand prize.

    William B. Lamb, Ph.D., dean of the LaPenta School of Business, sees the Finance Club as a place for ambitious students to learn about the finance industry. He, Joe and Erin are exploring the possibility of combining several business clubs, including finance, accounting and marketing into a single Business Society.” Just as the LaPenta School of Business will bring the disciplines together, a Business Society can provide students with exposure to several fields and a larger alumni network.”

    Erin enthusiastically added, “The LaPenta School of Business and the clubs will prepare Iona students for even greater success. This will help boost Iona’s reputation as a top business school because it is a top business school.”

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