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Donor Profiles

  • Thomas D. O’Malley ’63, ’15 HON
    Thomas D. O'Malley

    Thomas D. O’Malley, former chairman of Manhattan’s Board of Trustees, launched a new era for the School of Business this past year when he made a $25 million gift to increase scholarships, support innovative teaching and research, and expand experiential learning opportunities for students. It is the largest gift in the College’s history.

    At a formal ceremony on Tuesday, September 25, the school received its new name — the Thomas D. O’Malley ’63 School of Business. Tom and his wife, Mary Alice, are the College’s most generous donors. Among other contributions, they made the leadership gift to build the O’Malley Library and donated $10 million to help support construction of the Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons.

    “Mary Alice and I are pleased to continue our support for Manhattan College,” Tom says. “It provides a top-quality education in a dynamic and open environment while at the same time maintaining its Catholic identity. A very substantial portion of the student body supports Lasallian traditions of service to those less fortunate by volunteering in local, national and international support programs.” The College, Tom adds, offers the advantages of a diverse student body; tolerant, respectful discussion; and support for the nation’s military including a strong ROTC and services for student veterans.

    “The O’Malley gift takes our School of Business to a whole new level,” says Brennan O’Donnell, Ph.D., president of Manhattan College. “It allows us to expand and deepen our curriculum and research, encourage innovative pedagogy, and strengthen our support for experiential learning. We are extremely grateful to Tom, Mary Alice and their family for their steadfast generosity in supporting students, faculty and programs. We are proud to be home to the O’Malley School of Business.”

  • Cornelius J. Higgins ’62, Ph.D.
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    Faculty, staff and alumni gathered on April 26 as Manhattan broke ground for its new Patricia and Cornelius J. Higgins ’62 Engineering and Science Center. Addressing guests, Cornelius (Neil) Higgins, Ph.D., described its features: “state-of-the-art” labs, “space for student and faculty research” and other high-tech resources.

    But the center’s true value, Neil emphasizes, lies in a longstanding truth about the College itself. “Excellence in executing Manhattan’s Catholic Lasallian mission,” he says, “is not primarily dependent on facilities. The programs, the caring environment, the dedication of the leadership, faculty and staff are keys to a great education.”

    That education, says Neil, a trustee emeritus, shaped his life. In gratitude, he and his wife, Patricia, made a $5 million leadership gift to support the center. “God has blessed us,” he says. “We felt it was time to give back.”

    “We’re both the first generation in our families to go to college,” observes Patricia, an educator and health professional with a Ph.D. in the health sciences. “We needed to do this.”

    Neil earned his civil engineering degree at Manhattan in 1962. He joined the Air Force as a civil engineering officer. After completing his service —including a year in Vietnam — he held positions in the defense analysis industry and academia. He and a fellow veteran formed Applied Research Associates, Inc., where Neil served as principal and chief executive officer until retiring in 2010. He holds an M.S. from the Air Force Institute of Technology; a Ph.D. and MBA from the University of New Mexico; and an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College.

    Neil served on Manhattan’s Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2018. In addition to the Higgins Center, he has supported initiatives including the Fund for Manhattan, De La Salle Medal Dinner and Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons. “Manhattan is an essential element in whatever success I’ve had,” he says. “We want it to continue providing opportunities for future generations.”

  • Lynn Martin '98
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    Lynn Martin knows the qualities that lead to success. As president and chief operating officer of ICE Data Services, a division of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc., she is used to working with top professionals. Manhattan College graduates, she says, stand among
    the best.

    “It’s their work ethic,” says Lynn, who recently joined Manhattan’s Board of Trustees. “They’re very hard working, very bright. It seems to come along with being a graduate of the College.” She attributes much of her own success to her undergraduate work at Manhattan, where she majored in computer science and minored in math and finance. “Focusing on the details and working hard to achieve a solid result have absolutely been a factor in my education and career,” she says.

    Lynn points out two aspects of the Manhattan College experience: faculty attention and the Christian Brothers. “I always knew my professors really cared about my academic and professional success. They cared that I understood the material they were teaching as opposed to learning the material simply for a test,” she says. “You don’t find that level of concern at many institutions.” She credits two professors in particular — Drs. Kathryn Weld and Rosemary Farley — with encouraging her interest in math, something that caused her to pursue a continued focus on the subject well after her college years. As for the Christian Brothers, their “quiet pragmatism” wields a profound influence on the way students learn, says Lynn: “The Brothers’ mantra, if you will, is ‘get the job done.’ Success means rolling up your sleeves and getting to work.”

    A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Pen and Sword and other honor societies, Lynn earned her master’s degree in applied mathematics at Columbia University. She began her professional career at IBM and went on to top management positions at NYSE Euronext, NYSE Liffe U.S., New York Portfolio Clearing and ICE Clear U.S.

    Even with her many responsibilities, Lynn is dedicated to serving the College. As a trustee, she encourages other alumni to “give back” in any way they can. “People often think that giving back only means providing financial support,” she observes. “That’s important, but there are so many other ways to add value. Can we mentor students, promote the College to employers? Ultimately, it’s all about fostering and expanding the Manhattan community in your post-College years.”

  • Peter M. Musumeci Jr. ’72
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    For Peter Musumeci, a college education transcends classroom learning. “That’s vital, no question there,” he says. “But students come across some of their most important lessons outside the classroom — facing new situations, engaging with different people and cultures, gaining self-confidence.”

    Those kinds of experiences enriched Peter’s own years as a business major at Manhattan College. The southern New Jersey native discovered a new world at the Riverdale campus. “One of the biggest benefits for me,” he recalls, “was being away from home. I had to face new challenges, build new relationships. Being in New York was an education in itself.”

    Today, as a member of the Board of Trustees, Peter is helping new generations of Jaspers to enjoy similar opportunities. He and his wife, Linda, are responsible for two scholarships for business majors: The Musumeci Family Scholarship and The Peter M. Musumeci Jr. and Linda M. Musumeci Scholarship. “These days, kids leave college $20–, $30–, $40,000 in debt,” Peter says. “Linda and I are humbled and grateful to be able to minimize those pressures in any way.”

    The couple also contributes to major college initiatives such as the Brother Thomas Scanlan, FSC, Endowment for Lasallian Heritage; the De La Salle Medal Dinner; and the Fund for Manhattan, among others. This past year, their generosity supported renovations to De La Salle Hall, home to the O’Malley School of Business. Upgrades feature a new Experiential Learning Center with state-of-the-art learning facilities.

    As chair of the board’s development committee, Peter shares the expertise he has gained from his successful 40-year career in banking. A former executive vice president and chief credit officer at Commerce Bank, he currently serves as a consultant to Republic Bank in Philadelphia, PA, as well as Metro Bank PLC in London, England. Peter’s participation on Manhattan’s board has convinced him that alumni can help students in many ways —
    for example, through mentoring, as well as financial support. “Linda and I are very clear about this,” he says. “It’s all about the students — they’re our greatest assets.”

  • Luke Manning '18
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    Two months after earning his Manhattan College degree in May, Luke Manning began a new life in Texas. He was still a student when he began working part-time at the New York City location of Tesla, Inc. Today he is a full-time customer experience specialist at Tesla’s Plano showroom. “I love the work,” he says, “and the area’s beautiful. There’s a different vibe from New York — more laid back.”

    Luke credits his experiences and connections at Manhattan with leading him to Tesla. And he expresses gratitude for the scholarship aid the College was able to provide. A marketing and global business major in the O’Malley School of Business, Luke received the Peter M. Musumeci Jr. and Linda M. Musumeci Scholarship during his junior and senior years. “Without this support,” he says, “I never could have completed my education.”

    Growing up in rural North Carolina, Luke spent his early years on his father’s farm. When he lost his mother, a nurse and airline attendant, to cancer, his family moved to a nearby town. Luke excelled in high school. At 16, using air miles his mother had accrued, he began traveling across the country and around the world. He “fell in love” with New York on one of those trips. After touring several local universities, he chose Manhattan — “the friendliest, most welcoming campus,” he says.

    Luke originally majored in engineering but switched to business. He joined the Marketing Club, rising from speaker and coordinator to president. He especially enjoyed scheduling events featuring influential guest speakers, including alumni. He also worked in the Planned Giving Office, where he saw how important scholarships are for other students as well. “Every one of those donors,” he says, “has made, and is making, a difference in our lives.”

  • Stacey A. Guardino ’90
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    Hard work, a gift for understanding processes and internal controls, and the will to reach beyond her “comfort zone” propelled Stacey Guardino to become a partner at a Big Four public accounting firm. “My parents instilled a strong work ethic,” she says. “My sister and I were expected to always do our best, in school and in life.”

    Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, Stacey attended Bishop Kearney High School. A guidance counselor suggested she apply to Manhattan College. Recruitment visits by Br. David Van Hollebeke, FSC, an admission counselor at Manhattan, boosted her interest. Ultimately, two factors convinced her: a campus visit and a Presidential Scholarship. “Being there,” she says, “I could see it was a welcoming place. And the scholarship was very important — my sister, Alison, is two years younger, so our parents would be helping us both with tuition.” Alison is a 1992 Manhattan graduate.

    At the College, Stacey applied her interest in numbers as an accounting major with minors in management and mathematics. The supportive environment encouraged her to excel beyond the classroom. “I tend to be an introvert,” she says. “I knew I was going to have to change to succeed.” Elected to Student Government, she rose to speaker of the Legislature and was a member of the Senate. She also served for two years as treasurer for the New York District of Circle K International, a service organization; co-chaired the Spring Fest Committee; and was a resident assistant in her senior year.

    Today, Stacey is a partner at KPMG LLP in its Risk Consulting practice in New York City. She specializes in internal audit, internal controls, risk management and corporate governance for financial institutions. Stacey also makes time to serve her alma mater as a member of the Mentor Advisory Board and the Financial Services Advisory Council. In addition, she has contributed to the Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons, as well as the Dr. James Suarez Endowed Chair in the O’Malley School of Business. “There are many ways to give back,” she notes. “What counts is doing whatever we can.”

  • Michele Dischino ’92, Ph.D.
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    Returning to campus after nearly 20 years, Michele Dischino had a message for the local high school students participating in Manhattan College’s annual Summer Engineering Awareness Program (SEAP): “You never know where life will take you.”

    As an undergraduate at Manhattan, Michele majored in mechanical engineering. One of her favorite instructors was Walter Saukin, Ph.D., SEAP’s founder and an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. It was he who invited her to address the program’s young participants in July. “I was honored,” Michele says. “I never imagined I’d be back as a teacher.”

    A professor of technology and engineering education at Central Connecticut State University, Michele has earned recognition for encouraging more women and minority students to major in science and technology. She also is an academic innovator: working on two National Science Foundation research projects, she created a widely used, problem-based teaching curriculum. In April 2018, the
    Connecticut Science Center presented her with its Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award.

    Michele credits her Manhattan College education with shaping her career
    path — including doctoral studies in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. “The Ivy League seemed a bit intimidating at first,” she admits. “But I quickly discovered how well Manhattan prepared me for the rigor.” Like many Jaspers, the Mount Vernon, NY, native is a first-generation college graduate.
    A scholarship enabled her to attend Manhattan. “That was huge,” she says. “I’m so thankful for that aid.”

    Today, Michele often meets students who come from backgrounds similar to hers. “They’re working-class kids, commuters, the way I was,” she says. “By helping them, I try to give back for all the opportunities I received at Manhattan.”

  • Michael P. Cesa ’68, M.D.
    image of michael cesa and wife

    For Michael (Mike) P. Cesa, catching up with former classmates at Reunion Weekend in June meant a good deal more than celebrating the 50th Anniversary of his Manhattan College graduation. “It was like coming home,” he says. “As much as any college can be part of a family, Manhattan is part of mine.”

    Three generations of Mike’s family have attended Manhattan. His father, John, graduated in 1937. Two of Mike’s children did as well — Gregory ’99 and Thomas ’96, who met his wife, Sharon (Chisolm) ’96, at the College. Mike’s niece, Jeanine Perrelli ’19, is a senior. Her brothers also are Jaspers: Michael ’10 and Matthew ’14. “It’s part of the Cesa heritage,” Mike says. Now that he and his wife, Barbara, have nine grandchildren, “another generation’s in the wings.”

    Mike retired in 2015 after nearly 40 years at North Suffolk Cardiology, where he was a founding partner and chief executive officer. It is the largest such practice on Long Island’s North Shore. He also has served as a staff member at several New York-area hospitals: SUNY Downstate Medical Center; Stony Brook University School of Medicine; John T. Mather Hospital; St. Charles Hospital; and St. Catherine’s of Siena. Two of his children followed him into medicine — Christopher, a Holy Cross alumnus, is a physician at North Suffolk; Meredith, a Fordham graduate, is an emergency-room nurse at Northwell Health/LIJ. 

    Growing up in the Belmont section of the Bronx, Mike attended local Catholic schools, including nearby Fordham Prep. Although accepted to the university, he chose Manhattan: “my dad may have had a little something to do with that,” he says. A “day hop,” or commuter, Mike was active in campus life — as sophomore class secretary, editor of the freshman and sophomore journals, social life commissioner, a Jasper Football Club board member and executive vice president of Student Government. He went on to earn his M.D. degree at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine in 1972.

    Mike and Barbara are dedicated benefactors of the College, enhancing student life by supporting the Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons, the Annual Fund and other significant initiatives. “These are tough times for small private colleges,” Mike observes. “But they offer the kind of academic experience that you really don’t find at larger institutions. Alumni generosity is important if Manhattan is to continue providing the kind of education that meant so much to me and my classmates.”