GALLOWAY, N.J. — Stockton University has received its largest monetary gift in the history of the university.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist John F. Scarpa has pledged $8 million to the Stockton University Foundation that will target the university’s expansion of academic programs on the Atlantic City campus and a health service program on its main campus as well as creating an unrestricted fun for other needs at the university.
“This is a monumental day for Stockton,” Stockton President Harvey Kesselman said in a press release. “As we plan for our 50th anniversary next year, the tremendous generosity and partnership with John F. Scarpa will allow Stockton to continue to grow and provide new opportunities for our faculty and students.”
In appreciation of the gift from The John F. Scarpa Foundation, courtesy of John and Jana Scarpa, the Stockton Board of Trustees approved the naming of two university buildings as follows: the John F. Scarpa Academic Center on the Atlantic City campus and the John F. Scarpa Health Sciences Center on the Galloway campus.
“When a university chooses to name a building it is doing much, much more than recognizing a gift or philanthropy,” said chairman Leo B. Schoffer, who knows Scarpa. “It is sending a message to the community that the person shares the values of the university. We are fortunate to have the Scarpas as part of the Stockton family.”
Stockton University Foundation Executive Director and Chief Development Officer Daniel Nugent said public universities increasingly rely on private donors to ensure they provide the state-of-the-art education students need to prepare and compete effectively in tomorrow’s world.
“The two buildings being named for John F. Scarpa opened in 2018 as part of Stockton’s Academic Quad project and new expansion into Atlantic City,” Nugent said. “They represent the growth and vision of Stockton and we are proud that John F. Scarpa will now be linked to the development of that vision.”
Scarpa, a pioneer in the communications field, was co-founder and president and COO of American Cellular Network Corp., the first publicly traded cellular company in the United States. He went on to co-found Unitel Wireless Communication Systems and was one of the original members of the nationwide Cellular One Network.
An entrepreneur in the broadcast industry, he helped to establish the New Jersey and Northeast Cable TV Associations and assisted in the launch of the internet service provider Earthlink.
Through the John F. Scarpa Foundation, he supports education, healthcare and disadvantaged families; including the Frank and Edith Scarpa Regional Cancer Center at Inspira Medical Center in Vineland, the Edith Favretto Scarpa Arts and Sciences Building at St. Augustine Preparatory School in Richland, The John F. Scarpa Center for Law and entrepreneurship at Villanova Law School and the John F. Scarpa Technical Education Center in Cumberland County.
Scarpa said he is excited and proud to make this commitment to Stockton University.
“I grew up in South Jersey and started my career here,” Scarpa said. “I watched Stockton College grow to become Stockton University, an institution providing students the best academic opportunities available without leaving this great part of New Jersey. Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of the flame.’ I hope to light the way to enable students to realize their dreams.”
Scarpa has received numerous public and community service awards; Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation’s Charles Ruch Semper Fidelis Award (2019), Community Foundation of South Jersey’s Legacy of Giving Award (2018), Cape May County Distinguished Citizen Award (2017), Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2010), The National Italian American Foundation’s Special Award for Entrepreneurial Spirit (2008). John and his wife, Jana, accepted the Tocqueville Distinguished Citizen National Award at the 29th Annual Tocqueville Society Dinner in Palm Beach, Florida.
Jana and John Scarpa live in Palm Beach, Florida, and Avalon, N.J.