The reason behind the historic gift of $15,000,000 is in some ways more significant than the size of the gift.
Maurice Raymond “Hank” Greenberg never attended St. John’s University. But St. John’s had a significant impact on the former CEO of the largest insurance and financial services in history, AIG. Approaching the podium to sustained applause, an enthusiastic 93-year-old Mr. Greenberg was effusive in his praise of St. John’s University. He said
“I think that throughout my career, I was always looking for talent. And it came from different industries and different schools, as well as the military. But when we found out about St. John’s, and the insurance school, we focused on it. We hired many people from St. John’s who wanted a career in insurance, and they made great contributions to the profession. I hope that our gift is going to help the school become even bigger and even more professional than it has been. It’s a major benefit to the industry.”
“Over the years that I have been in the insurance industry, one of the important issues was to recruit intelligent people who were devoted to careers in the profession,“Many of the candidates we saw were from the St. John’s School of Risk Management. These candidates were more mature, focused and devoted to making a career in the insurance industry, and in most instances, making a significant contribution to that end.”
“Many of the leaders in the companies we managed were very often graduates of St. John’s and rose through the ranks to positions of importance. As many know, the company I am referring to is AIG, which operated throughout the world and required knowledgeable people and devoted internationalists, skilled in the profession of insurance whether it be underwriting, product development or leadership. I am pleased that our gift will help the University continue to attract great candidates for our industry, especially for our company.”
This is especially significant in light of the mission of St. Johns – ” to provide excellent education for all people, especially those lacking economic, physical, or social advantages.”
The further backstory is told by a beneficiary Samantha R. Meneilly, a third-year SRM student majoring in actuarial science. She shared heartfelt reflections on her college search that led her to St. John’s and on a path to a career in the insurance industry.
“The moment I heard that I received a Presidential Scholarship from St. John’s, which would cover my full tuition, I started crying,” she told those in attendance. “Suddenly, this dream I had for my future was going to be a reality. To this day, St. John’s continues to exceed my expectations and the person I have become is someone I never could have imagined when I first walked on campus.”
Maurice Raymond “Hank” Greenberg (born May 4, 1925) is an American business executive and former chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG), which was the world’s 18th largest public company and the largest insurance and financial services corporation in history.
Many people share their time, talent and treasure with the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission and its ministries.
“Hank” Greenberg has certainly shared his talent and treasure with this ministry founded by the Eastern Province.