NJCU receives $10 million gift

Largest donation in university history will go towards new performing art center and institute of international studies

The new performing arts space made possible with a $10 million donation from former Congressman Frank Guarini will be home to the Joffrey Ballet School.
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The new performing arts space made possible with a $10 million donation from former Congressman Frank Guarini will be home to the Joffrey Ballet School.

Former Congressman, philanthropist, and real estate developer Frank J. Guarini has donated $10 million to New Jersey City University, according to University President Dr. Sue Henderson.

The gift, the largest in the university’s history, will establish both the Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Studies and a state of the art community Performing Arts Center (PAC).

The Guarini Performing Arts Center as proposed will be a 25,437 square-foot theatrical showplace comprising a 492-seat theatre complete with an orchestra pit and fly stage, a 100-seat recital hall, two large dance studios for both rehearsal and performances with exterior glass walls looking out to a large public plaza, performers’ dressing rooms, scenery fabrication shop and storage, grand lobby and special event space.

Plans for the PAC have already led to a partnership between NJCU and the Joffrey Ballet School. The new facility will serve as home to Joffrey students and prospective college students may apply directly to the collaborative NJCU-Joffrey BFA in Dance program.

According to the press release, the Guarini Institute will extend beyond regional and national boundaries and focus on three key areas: research that explores the interconnections between the global future of work and higher education; preparation of students through abroad experiences and global work opportunities for the global future of work; and creation of international partnerships with institutions of higher education, businesses, and organizations that foster and advance the global nature of work.

In a press release from the university, Dr. Henderson recognized former Congressman Guarini for his lifelong commitment to the education of a global community comprising international and local institutions.

“For decades, Frank Guarini has demonstrated his support of New Jersey City University and now, more than ever, is critical to the continued bright future of our community,” said Dr. Henderson.  “On behalf of our students, their families and the generations of graduates to come, I want to thank Frank for his incredible generosity and investment in our vision and mission to empower all that call upon us. Both of these projects will significantly impact our county to create jobs, provide housing, and foster Jersey City’s growth as a world-class city to usher in a new era for our students and communities.”

Guarini was born and raised in Jersey City. He received his undergraduate and Juris Doctor and Master of Law degrees from Dartmouth College and New York University School of Law respectively and pursued advanced studies at The Hague Academy of International Law in the Netherlands.

He served as a Navy lieutenant during World War II, for which he received the Naval Commendation Medal and three Battle Stars, before returning home to join the lawfirm his father founded, Guarini & Guarini.

“NJCU has been a powerful advocate and important cornerstone of our community for almost 100 years,” said Guarini. “Dr. Henderson has brought a vision and vitality to this great institution and built an incredible team whose dedication to the needs of our students is impressive and inspiring. It has been an honor to witness their transformation under her leadership, and I am proud to support these far reaching, impactful projects.”

Dr. Henderson said his gifts to the university have been “transformational.”

“The Jersey City of tomorrow would not be possible without Frank’s support,” said Dr. Henderson. “His transformational gifts to so many important institutions here will pave the way for generations to come and we are humbled to be a part of it. I am looking forward to announcing NJCU’s celebrations to honor this historic moment along with the important groundbreaking milestones as we forge ahead together through this challenging time.”

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