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Roast of Monmouth University President Raises $10 Million

Event raises money for university programs, scholarships

The recent roast of Monmouth University President Paul G. Gaffney II raised $10 million for student scholarships, academic programs and capital projects, according to Dr. Jeffery Mills, vice president for University Advancement.

The amount is the largest raised by any single event in Monmouth's history, Mills said.

"It is a real tribute to the leadership and vision of President Gaffney," Mills said.

Mills said that proceeds from the roast not earmarked for capital improvements will be divided among the Leon Hess Business School, the Communication Department, and the Paul G. Gaffney II Scholarship Fund.

The business school and communication department each suspended annual fundraising events to clear the way for the tribute to Monmouth University President Paul Gaffney, a retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy.

In February, Gaffney announced his intention to step down as president of the University at the end of June, 2013.

At the roast, Robert Sculthorpe, chair of the Monmouth University Board of Trustees, announced that the University has raised $10 million in gifts in honor of Paul Gaffney. “Paul [Gaffney] has steered Monmouth to national recognition as an academic institution,” Sculthorpe said. “I am very proud of the university that Monmouth has become under his leadership.”

Middletown resident George Kolber served as event chair and master of ceremonies at the roast. Kolber, managing member of GVK Limited Partners, said that Robert and Joan Rechnitz of Middletown will fund construction of a new art building on campus that is expected to be completed in the fall of 2012. 

The Rechnitzes, co-founders of the Two River Theatre Company of Red Bank, both have longstanding ties to Monmouth. Mrs. Rechnitz is a 1984 graduate of the University, while Dr. Rechnitz was a professor of English and American Literature at the college for more than 30 years. In 2001, Dr. Rechnitz received the Maurice Pollak Award for Distinguished Community Service from the University. 

Former Monmouth University Board Chair Jules L. Plangere, Jr. was also recognized at the event. Plangere, the former publisher of the Asbury Park Press, is funding the expansion of football facilities near Kessler Field. Plangere, a longtime benefactor of the University earlier funded the installation of energy-efficient lights for the soccer field on the Great Lawn of the former Shadow Lawn Estate, and is the namesake of the state-of-the-art Jules L. Plangere, Jr. Center for Communication and Instructional Technology.

John Brockriede, Jr. of West Long Branch announced a capital gift from the Brockriede family—the donation of the family-owned property in Long Branch.  The property, which is contiguous to the campus, was home to Brockriede’s father, John A. Brockriede, Sr.  Known colloquially as “Mr. Long Branch,” Brockriede passed away on April 15, 2012. 

The senior Brockriede started in business at 19 as the operator of Johnny's Esso on Third and Morris Avenues in Long Branch, which later became Johnny's Exxon. He operated the business for 32 years.  His entrepreneurial career included many successful restaurant franchises, and a prominent role in the banking industry as a founding member of Monmouth Community Bank, which later became Central Jersey Bank in 2010.  He was honored with a Maurice Pollak Award for Distinguished Community Service in 2007.

John Brockriede, Jr., a sergeant first class with the Wall Township police department, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Monmouth University.  Together with his wife, Kenna, the Brockriedes served as co-chairs of the 2011 Monmouth University Holiday Ball, a black-tie event that raised a record number of scholarship funds for students.

"Paul Gaffney has transformed the University," said roast chair George Kolber. "The roast really brought the changes he's made into clearer focus for Monmouth alumni, trustees, faculty, and even students. A lot of people were happy to contribute to a cause that will cement [Gaffney's] legacy at Monmouth University."

Local and state elected officials from both sides of the political aisle were in attendance at the event including Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Congressman Frank Pallone, State Senators Joseph Kyrillos and Jennifer Beck, Monmouth County Freeholder Director John Curley, and Assembly members Mary Pat Angelini, Sean Kean, and Dave Rible.

In all, nearly 600 people attended the roast that was held in the Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC), home court for the University’s men's and women's basketball teams. The $57 million facility, which opened in 2009, was a major achievement of Gaffney's presidency.  The MAC was constructed without incurring any debt, and has since become a popular concert and sporting venue.

Jonathan Meer May 02, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Congratulations to Jeff Mills and his Development team for their spectacular efforts in honoring the accomplishments of President Gaffney!

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