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Seton Hall University receives $7.1M in gifts to enhance a leadership program

Seton Hall University has secured $7.1 million in philanthropic gifts for the Buccino Leadership Institute, an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that develops the next generation of business leaders.

Gerald Buccino graduated from Seton Hall University in 1963 and became a businessman who specialized in financial advising and turnaround services.

Buccino has given $2 million to his alma mater. The Buccino Leadership Institute launched in fall 2018, providing four years of leadership development for select students across six schools and colleges at Seton Hall. It currently serves 159 students.

“I came to Seton Hall as a military veteran and I have always felt that Seton Hall gave me a great education and allowed me to experience success well above whatever I ever anticipated,” Buccino said.

Retired Lt. Col. Bryan Price, founding executive director of the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University.

Retired Lt. Col. Bryan Price, founding executive director of the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University. – AARON HOUSTON

“In the early 1990s, I got re-acquainted with Seton Hall and saw the things that were going on and wanted to help.”

Buccino is also mentoring students in the program that bears his name. In 1995, he donated $500,000 to Seton Hall to fund the Buccino Leadership Program. The program existed in the Stillman School of Business for more than 23 years.

Buccino stays in touch with students after they graduate and advance in their careers.

“Our most recent Buccino scholars have secured full-time employment before they started their senior year,” Buccino said. “It is a very broad program of assisting students in terms of appearance … presentation, energy, eye contact and dress for success. It is not just grades and reading a book. But they understand everyone has to make a presentation one day and they understand how to do it and get ahead. And they learn how to be a servant leader.”

Retired Lt. Col. Bryan Price is the founding executive director of the institute and is a nationally recognized expert in leadership development and terrorism. Price has served in multiple levels of command, ranging from leading combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to serving as an associate professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and as the director of the academy’s Combating Terrorism Center.

“Look at some elements that differentiate our program from other leadership programs: the first is time,” Price said. “There are a number of leadership programs at universities where you take a number of classes during a semester where you might have a year’s experience. Just like the athletic department is grooming athletes, the leadership program is grooming leaders. That is unique. The other interesting thing is we have an interdisciplinary program. Even though Seton Hall has a long history of developing leaders in the business school, the fact that we expanded it to a university-wide program means that we are developing leaders at six of the colleges at the university.”

Jennifer Rivera-Rincon, Buccino Scholar, Seton Hall University.

Jennifer Rivera-Rincon, Buccino Scholar, Seton Hall University. – AARON HOUSTON

The experiential learning opportunities include a podcast, a strategic communications team, interdisciplinary team projects, professional assessments of personality and emotional intelligence, feedback from Price, feedback from fellow students and feedback from a professional leadership coach.

“The old generations took leadership for granted in terms of its development, whereas you had to work for an organization for 10 to 15 years before you became a leader,” Price said.

Seton Hall junior Jennifer Rivera-Rincon of Old Bridge is majoring in finance and marketing and is part of the business leadership program. “Every year there is a mentoring program,” Rivera-Rincon said. “I was lucky enough to get it as a freshman. Freshmen year, you work with Dr. B to have a foundation in your relationship. He got to know more about me, and where I see my career going, and I got to learn about him as well. Sophomore year, the first semester was reading a book about leadership qualities. The second semester of sophomore year is researching leaders and seeing what went well and what did not go well.”

Rivera-Rincon is currently working for a nonprofit organization as part of the leadership program, redoing its marketing strategies. “I am focused more on the social media aspects,” Rivera-Rincon said. “I want to get more engagement on social media. I want to make sure this nonprofit is getting the traction on social media where people can recognize it.”

Junior William Steck of Chicago is majoring in marketing and information technology. He and other students have visited the 9/11 Memorial, received a specialized leadership tour, and visited Gettysburg National Battlefield. Steck applied to 43 colleges and chose Seton Hall because of the leadership institute that offers mentorship and coaching. “We are trying to find an experience where we see issues through another person’s perspective and see how they are able to accomplish whatever they are able to accomplish,” Steck said.

He is already benefitting from his newfound leadership skills and is learning interview skills. “Starting from freshmen year, the feedback I received is unique,” Steck said. “These kinds of skills that we are developing are going to set us up for success and that are proven to have long-lasting impacts.” He intends to pursue a career in digital marketing.

More grants

The Seton Hall College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Center has received $1 million from the estate of Louis Gentile. A 1958 graduate, Gentile was a veteran of the United States Army and worked for many years in the insurance industry.

William Steck, Buccino Scholar, Seton Hall University.

William Steck, Buccino Scholar, Seton Hall University. – AARON HOUSTON

The Henry F. Roman and Maryann Roman Family Trust donated $1 million to the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, which has named its leadership center in the couple’s honor. Henry Roman, ’54, served two tours of duty in the Army, and he and his wife shared a love of travel and foreign cultures.

The College of Communication and the Arts has received a $1 million pledge from the Estate of Lloyd McBride to establish the Lloyd A. McBride Communication and the Arts Leadership Center. McBride was a 1953 graduate who majored in communication arts and served as a department head and chief announcer for WSOU, Seton Hall’s student-run radio station. He served as a professor of communication at Seton Hall for more than 40 years.

Additional support for the Buccino Leadership Institute has been received from the Estates of Dorothea Huber, Class of 1966, $252,963; George Conrad, Class of 1949, $154,475; Carolyn J. Scott, M.A.E. 1960, $50,000; Olga Tedeschi, Class of 1949, $47,621; and the Charitable Remainder Trust of Edmund Piasecki, Class of 1941, $161,067.

According to Seton Hall, endowed scholarships, with a preference for leadership students, have also been established from estate distributions in memory of Patricia O’Callaghan, Class of 1953 and Timothy Kelly, Class of 1951, $1 million; Joseph Toma, Class of 1949, $200,000; James, 1961/Law 1964, and Anita, M.A.E. 1992, Ventantonio, $110,408; Richard Passanant, Class of 1952, $50,000; and the Damasceno Family, P. ’19, $50,000 pledge.

David Hutter
David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at:

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