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Iona College Gets $17.5 Million Gift To Build New Business School

The Grand Hall at Iona's new business school will provide a venue for large gatherings at the New Rochelle college. The glass atrium will enclose the present Hagan Hall.
The Grand Hall at Iona's new business school will provide a venue for large gatherings at the New Rochelle college. The glass atrium will enclose the present Hagan Hall. Photo Credit: Provided/Iona College

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. --  Iona College in New Rochelle announced recently that it will use a multi-million-dollar gift from one of its trustees to help build a new business school.

The $17.5 million, given by Trustee Robert V. LaPenta, is the largest in the college’s history.

LaPenta, a member of the Class of 1967, gave the college $15 million last year and another $2.5 million in a matching challenge involving the alumni from 1975-1995.

The first new major academic building in more than 20 year, the project is part of the college's historic $150 million “Iona Forever” campaign.

According to, LaPenta is chairman, chief executive officer, president and chairman of the Governance & Nominating Committee, for Lumificient Corp. Limited

LaPenta said he was “proud” to support the private, co-ed school’s mission of “creating graduates who are smart, ethical, creative problem-solvers.”

He added that his time at Iona prepared him to be successful in business and to be in a position to “positively impact businesses and the livelihoods of others.”

The gift will, LaPenta said, enhance Iona’s “strong business school performance and reputation well into the 21st century.”

The facility will showcase the front of Hagan Hall and its iconic cupola.

An open glass atrium will provide views of the rest of campus.

The atrium, or Grand Hall, will be a gathering space and a venue for events.

Along with state-of-the-art smart classrooms, the new structure will have case-study and breakout rooms, a business career center, quiet study space, and integrated faculty and administrative offices.

It will also house an expanded and relocated LaPenta-Lynch Trading Floor, a School of Business centerpiece since it opened in 2011.

Overall, the project will more than double the space available in the existing facility, the college said.

The college’s Board of Trustees approved the building’s design in September.

No firm schedule for its construction, however, has been set.

If the city of New Rochelle gives it the necessary approvals – and fundraising “remains strong” – construction could begin as early as this coming spring and it could be opened by the start of the 2018-19 academic year.

It should take about 18 months to build, Iona said.

The college is working with the design and architectural firm Gensler to plan the new facility’s program and physical spaces.

“Business schools now need to train graduates for a workplace that is changing faster than ever before,” said Mark Thaler, AIA, Gensler’s education practice leader. “The new Iona School of Business will be a forward-thinking transformational educational structure that will prepare students for this landscape.”

Provost Vincent J. Calluzzo said he see the new building as a gathering place for Iona’s business students and staff, as well as “all students, alumni and the larger community.”

For more information about Iona College, click here.

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