A St. John’s University alumni power couple has pledged to donate the largest single gift in the 152-year history of the school, to support the construction of the new Health Sciences Center now rising on the Hillcrest campus.
Member of the board of trustees Margaret La Rosa D’Angelo, and her husband, Board of Trustees Chair Emeritus Peter P. D’Angelo, have pledged $20 million that will direct $15 million to the construction of the new center and $5 million to the university’s most critical needs.
“St. John’s University holds a special place in our hearts,” the D’Angelos said in a joint statement. “We are excited about its direction, investment in health sciences and unwavering commitment to be a place that turns opportunity into outcomes for hard-working students who want to make a difference in the world.”
Peter D’Angelo, the president of Caxton Alternative Management, a private investment company, earned his master’s in business administration from SJU in 1978, and his wife, affectionately known as “Peg,” graduated from the School of Education in 1970. Both have been awarded honorary degrees from the university.
St. Vincent Hall was demolished in the spring to make way for the construction of the new $106 million Health Sciences Center, which when completed in the fall of 2024, will become the permanent home of SJU’s Bachelor of Science degree nursing program. The new nursing program that launches next month will be housed in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences — the largest provider of healthcare personnel in Queens and one of the major healthcare educators in the New York City region.
“The center’s design and flexible room layouts will promote interprofessional education among existing academic programs and will enable students to learn together and work as a team, like the real-world situation found in any clinical setting,” said SJU Provost Simon G. Møller, Ph.D. “The center’s state-of-the-art simulation facilities will allow students to learn in a safe, realistic, clinical environment before they begin clinical rotation assignments at off-campus sites. The generous support of Peg and Peter D’Angelo will help make this happen.”
Previously, the D’Angelos endowed a scholarship for mathematics majors seeking to pursue a career in education and established the Peter P. and Margaret A. D’Angelo Chair in the Humanities within St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — the university’s oldest division.
In 2009, the D’Angelo Center, modeled after the Great Hall on Ellis Island, opened on the Hillcrest campus. The five-story, multipurpose academic facility known as “the DAC” is a hub of student life and activity on campus.
“Few individuals have made a greater impact on St. John’s University than Peg and Peter, who stand as models of all that St. John’s seeks to achieve,” SJU President Reverend Brian Shanley said. “The D’Angelos not only give their time and talent to St. John’s but have been sage trustees and extraordinarily generous benefactors as well. Whether in brick and mortar or in the foundational Vincentia values they emulate, they demonstrate exceptional devotion to their alma mater and a real spirit of supportive service to generations of students at St. John’s. I am grateful to the D’Angelos for their extraordinary philanthropy and for all that they do for St. John’s.”