New Rochelle, NY (April 2011) Dick Cavett, Emmy Award winner, television personality and writer, will be master of ceremonies at Iona College’s Trustee Award Dinner, Friday, April 29 at The Waldorf Astoria, New York City.
The event will honor Brother James A. Liguori, CFC, EdD, who will be ending his 17th and final year as Iona College’s seventh President, in recognition of his contributions in raising the college’s stature.
“Brother Liguori has left an indelible mark at Iona College. His legacy is evident everywhere on the campus,” said James P. Hynes, Chair of Iona’s Board of Trustees. He added: “Under his leadership, Iona was transformed from a commuter school to a prestigious, nationally-recognized, mid-sized college and a vital neighbor in the New Rochelle community.”
Cardinal Edward Egan, former Archbishop of New York and noted songwriter and Iona alum Don McLean (‘68) and (’01) honorary degree, will be among the special guests who will celebrate Brother Liguori’s legacy as well as the 70th anniversary of the college’s founding. Proceeds from the event will be used to establish the James A. Liguori Scholarship Fund that will help academically qualified students who need financial assistance. The black-tie event will feature a menu created by celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich.
Brother Liguori stated: “Throughout my 17 years as President, I have been blessed with the support of Iona’s dedicated faculty, administration and staff, and the invigorating presence of a bright and talented student body. In addition, it has given me tremendous satisfaction to see the College keep growing stronger and become more competitive.”
Brother Liguori has had a life-long commitment to the betterment of Iona and the City of New Rochelle where he grew up. He is a graduate of Iona Preparatory School and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Iona College in 1965. He subsequently earned a Master of Arts in English education from SUNY New Paltz. He also holds an M.A. and a P.D. (professional diploma) in Educational Administration, and a doctorate in Educational Administration, all from Fordham University. He served as principal of Iona Prep from 1980 to 1989.
During his distinguished 45-year academic career, he also served as principal of Rice High School in Manhattan and Bishop Hendricken High School in Rhode Island. He also served as Associate Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York and Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Newark. In 1993, he joined Iona College as Executive Vice President.
Soon after becoming Iona’s top administrator in 1995, he developed and implemented the first of three Presidential Strategic Plans that collectively raised more than $100 million over his tenure. These funds enabled Iona College to expand with the construction of new buildings and the renovation of others. This expansion changed both the face of the campus and enhanced student life. Among the new additions were the Hynes Athletics Center; the Robert V. LaPenta Student Union; five residence halls and the recently completed, state-of-the-art Ryan Library. Projects in the planning stage include a new residence hall and a trading floor for the Hagan School of Business.
Among the other accomplishments of Brother Liguori that will be recognized are:
Academics He was instrumental in raising Iona’s standing in the world of academics. Iona’s accreditations in business, mass communication, education, marriage and family therapy, social work, chemistry, psychology, health care administration and computer science make it unique among New York State’s colleges.”
It is also ranked in the top tier of U.S. News and World Report’s annual “America’s Best Colleges 2011; The Princeton Review’s Best Northeastern Colleges 2011 and Business Week’s Top 25 Undergraduate Business Schools in the Northeast.
The lifting of the academic bar has also translated into Iona attracting more academically qualified students. The average grade for the freshman class of 2010 was 3.5 and it continues to climb.
Under his leadership, an endowment was created that provided students with funding in 23 different scholarship programs. The new Brother James A. Liguori Scholarship Fund will continue Liguori’s legacy of helping academically qualified students.
Student Body The student body underwent a major shift—from commuter to resident. In 1995, more than 60% of the students were commuters. Today, one third of the students are commuters and two thirds are residents who hail from throughout the U.S. and overseas, bringing a vitality and energy to the campus.
Community As a long-time resident of New Rochelle, Liguori pursued an active role in beautifying the local New Rochelle community, as well as the physical space of the city. Thanks to his vision, North Street, once lined with bars and decaying storefronts, is now an attractive and vibrant area near the school.
Brother Liguori was also a strong advocate of students and staff being getting more involved in many aspects of the community outside the campus gates.
Among the programs have been Campus Ministries that help people in need locally and internationally and the unique Learning in Retirement course offerings for retirees.
Economic Engine During the Brother Liguori years, the economic impact of Iona College has been significant. With 280 employees and some 3,000 students, Iona College is contributing more than $60 million in direct and indirect spending and helping to support 1,700 jobs locally.
In 2006 when he was appointed to his fourth term as Iona’s President, Brother Liguori told the Board of Trustees that it would be good for Iona to have fresh leadership and that he intended to complete his tenure in June 2011. “True to the energy and vision that have marked his remarkable career, Brother Liguori has no plans to retire and will look for future challenges,” Hynes said. “He leaves behind a legacy of stellar leadership, diligence, commitment and vision that propelled Iona beyond the Board’s expectations. It will be felt by many generations of students to come.”