Stevens Community Honors Gianforte Family for Record-Setting Donation
Alumnus Greg Gianforte ‘83 recently gave a record-setting $10 million gift to Stevens because of what the university gave to him – a strong work ethic, a problem-solving orientation, a real-world focus and a value set which he described as “invaluable” to his career and life.
On Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, the Stevens community expressed its own gratitude for the “invaluable” generosity of Gianforte, his wife, Susan, and members of his immediate family, including father, Frank, a Stevens alumnus from the Class of 1958.
In a special on-campus reception in Babbio Atrium, university leaders and approximately 200 faculty members, staff and students formally honored the Gianfortes and recognized the positive impact their immense investment will have on academic life at Stevens far into the future.
Stevens President Nariman Farvardin called Gianforte a “sparkplug for good” in the university community.
“This is a historic day at Stevens; a chance to express our appreciation to the Gianforte family for this most generous gift,” he said.
Gianforte’s donation will fund the Gianforte Academic Complex, a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary educational and research building. The complex – where Farvardin said the “future generations of the next Gianfortes” will sit – will enable Stevens to expand and will directly support Stevens’ ten-year strategic plan, which calls for significant growth in the student population as well as increases in course offerings and research programs.
“This donation will give life to the ambitious goals of Stevens’ strategic plan,” Farvardin said. “Because of this gift, Stevens will be able to grow in size, offer new programs to our students, and launch new initiatives to help solve society’s biggest problems.”
University leaders said financial philanthropy from Gianforte and others in the alumni body is critical to building momentum for the transformational changes that will come about from the strategic plan, which was launched this year in an effort to increase Stevens’ impact and influence in education, research and other areas.
“The strategic plan is about Stevens showing the world that you can have a world-class research university that is also student-centric,” said Michael Bruno, dean of the Charles V. Schaefer School of Engineering and Science. “This donation and this building are key enablers. They will allow Stevens to acquire the space and tools to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers who will problem-solve the very real challenges we face.”
“This donation is the first stepping stone on Stevens’ path of growth,” added Teddy Poppe ‘13, president of the Student Government Association. “It is part of a plan for Stevens to grow larger, more prestigious and more technologically advanced.”
The theme of the reception on Friday afternoon was gratitude to the Gianfortes. It was expressed in a video tribute featuring offerings of thanks from countless representatives from the university community; in the presentation of a presidential pin and Class of 1983 yearbook to Gianforte; in a stirring performance of the Natalie Merchant song, “Kind and Generous,” by Stevens students; and in the official remarks by various speakers at the reception.
“This building will serve as a long-term monument to the history and success of Stevens,” said Stevens Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Babbio. “It is truly an inspiration. You can already see the energy it has brought to this campus.”
“Greg Gianforte has made it clear that he loves his alma mater, but that he also has higher expectations for it,” said Farvardin. “He wanted to do something that would accelerate the progress of Stevens, and he is doing just that. We are amazed, inspired and grateful to him and his family.”
Gianforte – who earned his B.E. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Computer Science from Stevens and has been a highly-successful software entrepreneur and innovator – said it was he who should be grateful.
“I have personally been blessed by the education I received at Stevens,” he said. “Today there is an opportunity here at Stevens to change the economy and society by educating more people who work hard and dream big.”
“Stevens has put down a very solid foundation throughout its history, and the time is now to build to the next level on top of that foundation,” he added. “It is my pleasure to come alongside Stevens in its rise and transformation.”