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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)April 6, 2006

(Mahwah) – Ramapo College of New Jersey today announced that it has received the largest gift in the college’s history. Longtime supporters Richard and Millicent Anisfield of Saddle River will donate $2.5 million toward Ramapo’s business school; together with past gifts to the college, the total of the Anisfields’ commitment to Ramapo is over $3 million. To express its appreciation for these contributions, the Ramapo College Board of Trustees will name the college’s business school The Anisfield School of Business.

Trustees Chair Thomas Zelante, Esq. expressed his gratitude for the Anisfields’ far-reaching donation, saying, “The college will be indebted to them for generations to come. This gift will ensure that students receive the most competitive education and skill set, so that when they graduate they are well-prepared for selective graduate programs and poised for long-term success in their careers.”

The Anisfield gift will provide funding to support the construction of a new academic building, an endowed deanship, endowed student scholarships and faculty fellowship awards. “The Anisfields are committed to our business school’s mission to provide undergraduate students with exceptional public education through the strategic integration of the business disciplines and the liberal arts, “said Ramapo President Peter P. Mercer. He continued, “Endowing a deanship will allow the new dean to create partnerships with the business community with the potential to develop programs to suit their needs, to offer development opportunities for our faculty, and ensure currency in faculty teaching and research.”

The Anisfield School of Business, the college’s largest school with 23 percent of Ramapo students, will be housed on the lower level and the first three floors of the new facility, comprising 14 “smart” classrooms, two of which will be high-tech lecture halls, study lounges, an e-mail lounge, 40 faculty offices as well as 20 two-person adjunct faculty offices, break-out rooms for seminars and a dean’s suite. In addition, the Marge Roukema Center for International Education will be located within the Anisfield School of Business. This will make it possible to locate all business classrooms and faculty offices in one facility. Site work has already begun on the new building, which will be a central feature of the main entrance to the campus.

Richard Anisfield is the former owner and CEO of Kurt Versen Company, which he purchased from its founder in 1956; he sold the company in May 2005. Kurt Versen is a national company specializing in commercial and institutional lighting. Customers are architects, lighting designers and engineers in all 50 states. The company’s products are all manufactured in the United States. “In making this gift, my interest is in creating something lasting,” he stated, “and something that is important for our society. “He went on to say, “The best thing I can do is support education. I want to contribute to the education of the most promising students and those who might not otherwise find college accessible.”

Millicent Anisfield served on the Ramapo College Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1997 and as its chair from 1992-94. She has been a member of the Ramapo College Foundation Board of Governors since 1997. For two years she chaired the Planned Giving Committee and is currently co-chair. Of her longtime involvement with the college, she said, “The wonderful people at Ramapo College have enriched my life for 21 years.”

Cathleen Davey, vice president for institutional advancement and executive director of the Ramapo College Foundation, noted, “The Anisfields’ generosity will have a significant impact on the quality of teaching at Ramapo and creates a lasting legacy to their ideals and commitment to act for the greater good. Dick and Millicent have been extraordinary leaders both in the corporate and the philanthropic communities. They have established ambitious goals and have achieved them through their service, leadership, and now their legacy in preparing tomorrow’s leaders.”

The Anisfield gift coincides with new attention focused on the business school. The Board of Trustees has taken the initial steps to reinvigorate the school’s curriculum to establish a top-ranked program and seek accreditation by AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). AACSB is the premier accrediting organization for business programs on a global basis. This initiative is a public commitment to raising the quality of business education within the broader liberal arts curriculum at Ramapo College. New full-time faculty lines, the first in the business school in several years, have been filled with new faculty in economics, marketing and international business who have recently received their Ph.D.s. All are committed to teaching and have well-defined research agendas. The School will continue to recruit highly qualified new faculty in order to raise the number of full-time teaching staff.

The College is conducting a national search for a dean for the business school. In the past, Ramapo College’s deans have been appointed from the faculty of the respective school, to serve for a three-year term, with a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Bernard Milano, chair of the Ramapo College Foundation and a member of the search committee for the new dean, pointed out that interviews are to begin next week. Commenting on the Anisfield gift, he said, “This is incredible timing and a wonderfully positive message for us to give the candidates for the dean’s position.”

The Anisfields have previously contributed to the college’s capital campaigns for the Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts and the Bradley Sports and Recreation Center. They also have endowed a scholarship for minority women, and have established a bequest to endow an arts and humanities lecture series. Milano added, “Its an inspiration to faculty, staff and students for the Anisfields, who are not alumni, to have supported the college so generously for 21 years and to step forward in this way.”

In addition to the Anisfield School of Business, the new academic building will provide dedicated space on the fourth floor for programs not previously located in specially-designed spaces. These include programs in nursing, bioinformatics, computer science and the Master of Science in Educational Technology. The fourth floor also will provide offices for faculty in those disciplines. The fifth floor of this building will allow for future expansion.

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as number one among public comprehensive colleges in the north, Ramapo College recently was recognized by two additional national publications. An article in the February 2006 issue of Kiplinger’s magazine named Ramapo College among the top 100 public colleges and universities. The article, “Best values in public colleges,” included the sub-head, “Yes, you can still get a first-class education at a reasonable price.” Ramapo College also is one of 224 select colleges and universities profiled by The Princeton Review in the 2006 edition of The Best Northeastern Colleges.

Undergraduate students choose to concentrate their studies in one of five schools with more than 700 course offerings and 40 academic programs. Ramapo College boasts an average student/faculty ratio of 17:1 and average class size of 23, affording students the opportunity to develop close ties to the College’s exceptional faculty. Students typically rank in the top 15 percent of their high school class and have average SAT combined (critical reading and math) scores of 1179. .


Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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