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Montclair State University will honor a distinguished trio of New Jersey business and civic leaders at its Annual Scholarship Dinner on Saturday, March 3.

Proceeds from the public event will provide scholarship opportunities for future generations of University students.

Since its inception in 1999, the annual benefit dinner has raised millions of dollars – including a record-breaking $800,000 raised at the 2017 gala – to support the University’s Second Century Scholarship Fund.

This year, Kevin Cummings, president and CEO of Investors Bank, will accept the Rose and John J. Cali Award for Business Leadership and Community Engagement on behalf of the bank. Alumnus James W. Merli is the 2018 recipient of the Margaret and Herman Sokol Award for Alumni Achievement and Civic Leadership, while the McMullen Family Foundation, represented by Peter McMullen, will receive the Mary Mochary and Michael Kasser Award for Philanthropic Leadership.

“Everything we do at Montclair State is aimed at providing our students with the highest quality educational opportunities, with regard only to the individual potential and talents of our very diverse student population, and without regard to the circumstances into which they were born,” says Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole. “Adequate scholarship resources are critical to that goal, and like every other great American university, we rely on the generosity of our friends, alumni, foundations and corporations to assure that today’s students will have the chance for success and the education necessary to make positive contributions to our society.”

The evening’s program will also feature performances of songs from the recent production of the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes by students in Montclair State’s nationally recognized Musical Theatre program. Montclair State University alumnus Tom Kaminski ’84, New York’s longest-running, helicopter-based traffic reporter at WCBS 880, will serve as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.

Co-chairs of Montclair State’s 2018 Annual Scholarship Dinner are Dennis M. Bone, Rose L. Cali ’80, Michael L. Capone, Douglas L. Kennedy, Judith Schumacher-Tilton and Stephen R. Tilton Sr.

About the Honorees

Investors Bank

Since its founding in 1926, Investors Bank has grown to one of the largest banks headquartered in New Jersey. With more than $25 billion in assets and a network of more than 150 retail branches throughout New Jersey, New York City and Long Island, Investors Bank delivers a broad range of financial services and products tailored to the needs of retail, business and not-for-profit customers.

Committed to serving others, Investors Bank continues to grow while remaining focused on its roots as a local community bank. For Investors Bank, community – one of its four core values – means caring for customers, employees, and the people and businesses in the local neighborhoods it serves. Investors Bank and its Foundation provide financial support to team members who volunteer their time and talents to give back to their communities.

“I am so honored to accept the Rose and John J. Cali Award for Business Leadership and Community Engagement on behalf of Investors Bank,” says Cummings. “Philanthropy and volunteerism are intrinsic elements of the bank’s mission. We believe that Investors Bank has an obligation to make a positive difference in the communities where our employees and customers live and work. We want to make a significant contribution to changing the world for the better, and supporting education affords one of the most important means of having that impact, which is just one of the reasons we have supported Montclair State University for more than 10 years.”

James W. Merli

Jim Merli embodies the drive and determination of Montclair State graduates. After graduating from Montclair State in 1983, Merli launched his Wall Street career at Shearson, prior to the Shearson/Lehman Brothers merger. During his 25 years with Lehman Brothers, he rose to the role of global head of the fixed income syndicate. In 2008, he moved to Barclays Capital, where he was head of U.S. primary market syndication. In 2010, he joined Nomura Securities International as global head of debt syndication and head of global finance for the Americas.

Since retiring from Nomura in 2015, Merli has served Montclair State and the Feliciano School of Business in several capacities. He is an adjunct professor at the School, a member of its Business Advisory Board, an executive in residence and a donor. He and his wife, Sandy, recently made a gift to the School to name the James W. Merli Executive Conference Center.

“Montclair State provided me with the tools necessary to compete in the highly competitive field of global finance,” says Merli. “I feel that it is even more important today than ever that students have an opportunity to obtain a high-quality, affordable education and I feel very fortunate to be in a position to help them achieve that.”

McMullen Family Foundation

With strong roots in Montclair, the McMullen Family Foundation has focused its impact to benefit the Montclair community.

Honoring the legacy of John McMullen – who got his start at Montclair High School before earning degrees from the United States Naval Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – the Foundation is a strong supporter of education, the arts and human services. Demonstrating a deep belief in the transformative power of education, the family has empowered education efforts across primary, secondary and higher education levels.

Through exceptional generosity and engagement, the McMullen family is intent on creating opportunities for students to pursue their quest for knowledge.

“Our family is honored to be recognized with the Mary Mochary and Michael Kasser Award for Philanthropic Leadership. The McMullen Family Foundation is committed to supporting educational initiatives and pleased we can help advance the great work of Montclair State University in preparing students for successful futures,” says Peter McMullen of the McMullen Family Foundation.

The McMullen family’s leadership has made a visible impact on the University, celebrating the visual arts by supporting the University’s George Segal Gallery and its acclaimed exhibitions and programs, as well as doctoral studies in environmental management. The McMullen Family Foundation has also established the McMullen Scholarship at Montclair State’s new School of Nursing, which is helping Mountainside Hospital registered nurses earn Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees and pursue professional development and advancement.



Montclair State University

Montclair State University is a research doctoral institution ranked in the top tier of national universities. Building on a distinguished history dating back to 1908, the University today has 10 colleges and schools that serve more than 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students with more than 300 doctoral, master’s and baccalaureate programs. Situated on a beautiful, 252-acre suburban campus just 12 miles from New York City, Montclair State delivers the instructional and research resources of a large public university in a supportive, sophisticated and diverse academic environment.