Seton Hall University announced that Henry F. Roman (‘54) and his wife, Maryann, donated $750,000 to the University, the gift will be allocated toward improving the core cirriculum.
Henry Roman served in the military and went on two tours of duty with the U.S. Army in California after he graduated from Seton Hall. Roman and his wife both passed and their niece Susan Lis was appointed as the administer of their estate, which determines how their possessions are dispersed.
Joe Gausconi, the senior director of principal gift planning for Seton Hall, said the University was unaware that the Roman family included Seton Hall on their list of beneficiaries of their estate plan in 2016.
“It is not uncommon for a donor or alumnus to leave us a donation and we only become aware of his gift later,” Gausconi said. “After his wife’s death at the end of 2015, we found about the generous donation. There had originally been some plans to allocate the money to a different purpose and then, the Provost realized Mr. Roman’s interest to change it.”
“Mr. Roman left the money on an unrestricted basis, however, ideally you want to use the money not only in a manner that university needs to use the money but also, use the money in a way that resonates with the donor’s values.”
The initial donation totaled nearly $1.75 million. One million was allocated to name and endow the Henry and Maryann Roman Leadership Center at the leadership institute. The balance of the funds, roughly $750,000, was used in an endowment to the University core curriculum because of the family’s Catholic faith.
Dr. Nancy Enright, Seton Hall’s core curriculum director, says the money will be used mainly for guest speakers relation to Mission, addiction help and food distribution. All of these are areas that Seton Hall has already started, however the money will allow all initiatives to expand further.
Enright also noted that Seton Hall has more service-learning classes than ever, but still wants to expand that.
A professor whose son passed away due to addiction connected Enright to an organization called “I-Thirst” that works with addicts. Some of them came to campus to speak to students where a healing mass was held. Dr. Enright says she hopes to have two healing masses this year.
Wilnir Louis, a junior sports management and marketing major, believes the money can go to other causes.
“They should do something with the parking because it doesn’t make sense to me that we have to pay for a parking pass here,” Louis said. “Open up more scholarships for students so they can come here and clean up dorms. From what I’ve seen, some of the freshman dorms look a bit better.”
Heaven Hill, a sophomore journalism major, thinks the money could go towards the maintenance issues.
“Definitely, repairs in the dorms could be useful,” Hill said. “I saw a video yesterday that showed about 90 percent of the washing machines in a freshman dorm was out of order. Also, if tuition can go down because it has been raising a lot over the years.”
Dr. Enright said that there are ways for students to become more aware of what’s happening with the funds.
“Students do have a right to know what’s going on with the money in the school,” Enright said. “There should be a sort of transparency there, which I think is there. I’m excited about all of things we’re doing and have no problem explaining the kind of things that we want to do.”
Evando Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.