Stockton receives largest gift, $8M from telecom pioneer Scarpa

Stockton University has received its largest-ever gift, $8 million pledged to the Galloway school’s foundation by the John F. Scarpa Foundation.

The gift from entrepreneur and philanthropist John F. Scarpa and his wife, Jana Scarpa, will go toward two primary initiatives, the expansion of Stockton’s Atlantic City academic program and its main campus’ health sciences program, as well as an unrestricted fund for general university needs.

John F. Scarpa.

“This is a monumental day for Stockton,” President Harvey Kesselman said in a prepared statement. “As we plan for our 50th anniversary next year, the tremendous generosity and partnership with John F. Scarpa will allow Stockton to continue to grow, and provide new opportunities for our faculty and students.

“As a public university, we strive to provide both quality and affordability, and it is through the generous support of donors like John F. Scarpa that we are able to achieve those goals.”

Stockton will name two buildings for Scarpa, the John F. Scarpa Academic Center, in Atlantic City, and the John F. Scarpa Health Sciences Center, in Galloway.

“When a university chooses to name a building, it is doing much, much more than recognizing a gift or philanthropy,” Stockton board Chairman Leo B. Schoffer said in a statement. “It is sending a message to the community that the person shares the values of the university. We are fortunate to have the Scarpas as part of the Stockton family.”

Scarpa, who lives with his wife in Avalon and in Florida, was co-founder and president of American Cellular Network Corp., the first publicly traded cellular company in the U.S. He also co-founded Unitel Wireless Communication Systems and was one of the original members of the national Cellular One Network.

“I grew up in South Jersey and started my career here,” Scarpa said in a statement. “I watched Stockton College grow to become Stockton University, an institution providing students the best academic opportunities available without leaving this great part of New Jersey.”

The John F. Scarpa Foundation supports causes in education, health care and disadvantaged families. Buildings are named for Scarpa and his family at several institutions in the region. He and his wife have also received numerous community service awards and honors.