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Mount Establishes First Endowed Professorships


Faculty chairs funded through gifts to Ad Lux campaign

Riverdale, N.Y. – The family of Jean Ames DeNunzio has established the first endowed professorship in College history. The Jean Ames DeNunzio Chair for Faculty Excellence will honor Jean DeNunzio, alumna and trustee emerita, and will recognize the outstanding contributions of Mount faculty members to their academic disciplines. The DeNunzio family made the commitment in 2014, and the gift has achieved distinction as one of the first major contributions to the College’s Ad Lux capital campaign.

The Ad Lux campaign recognizes and preserves the College’s legacy of providing a transformative educational experience to all students. Announced during Reunion and Homecoming Weekend, the campaign—with a goal of $42,000,000—is the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the College’s history. Ad Lux, which means “toward the light” in Latin, will provide comprehensive support for several of the College’s strategic priorities. Funds will increase financial aid resources for students, endow professorships, support academic and programmatic innovations, improve and upgrade facilities, significantly augment the Mount’s endowment and annual fund, and support its commitment as a Sisters of Charity college.

Endowed professorships allow the College to not only reward and retain its outstanding faculty, but also attract scholars from other institutions with a demonstrated passion for teaching. “An endowed professorship is a rare honor in academia,” said Provost Sarah Stevenson. “It also raises the bar for the institution, ensuring only the most qualified candidates—in terms of both teaching and research—will apply for faculty positions.”

Jean DeNunzio served for many years on the College’s Board of Trustees. The $2,000,000 professorship established in her name is intended to celebrate not only her devotion to the College, but also Mount Saint Vincent’s standards of teaching excellence, which Jean and her fellow trustees have worked so diligently to champion.

Of his mother’s unswerving devotion to the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Peter DeNunzio said, “The Mount has been an enduring passion of my mother’s. Our whole family has come to understand why she believes the College to be such a unique and important place. We are proud to make this commitment to the Ad Lux campaign, as a tribute to her affection, in order to ensure outstanding faculty remain at the heart of this institution.”

In addition to the Jean Ames DeNunzio Chair for Faculty Excellence, funds were secured in the 2016-2017 year for a second professorship, the Sisters of Charity 200th Anniversary Chair, which will recognize the congregation’s two centuries of service and leadership. The Ad Lux Chair, a third professorship, has also been established through an anonymous commitment to the capital campaign. Four extraordinary Mount faculty members have been honored with these professorship awards: Edward Zukowski is the Jean Ames DeNunzio Professor of Religious Studies and James J. Fabrizio is the Jean Ames DeNunzio Professor of Biology; Amir Niknejad is the Sisters of Charity 200th Anniversary Associate Professor of Mathematics; and Ioanna Visviki is the Ad Lux Associate Professor of Biology.

“In higher education, there’s no better signifier of extraordinary accomplishment and service than a chaired professorship,” said President Charles L. Flynn, Jr. “It is the highest affirmation to give.”

This story originally appeared in the College’s 2017 Annual Report.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.