Dr. Michael D. Santoro grew up in nearby Nutley, New Jersey, and received his degree in elementary education from William Paterson University in 1973. He went on to earn an MBA in general management from Adelphi University in 1983 and a PhD in organizational management from Rutgers University in 1998. After spending 21 years at ADP serving in a number of middle and senior management positions, Mike has now enjoyed a nearly 30-year career in academia. He is currently professor of management at Lehigh University where he holds the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professorship.
After almost two decades of giving back to WP, reconnecting with fellow members of the Skull and Poniard fraternity, and serving on the Alumni Executive Council, Mike has made a bequest to the University in his estate plan to both establish the Michael D. and Maureen P. Santoro Endowed Scholarship (named for himself and his wife of 34 years) and to provide additional support for the already-established Skull and Poniard Endowed Scholarship.
“I thought it would be nice to leave a lasting legacy,” Mike says. “It’s a way that some of my fortunes—and I have been very fortunate—can live on to help others. I see the purpose and the importance for endowed scholarships and how they can not only reward deserving and talented students but also facilitate how these individuals can complete their degrees, lessen the financial burden, graduate and join our society, and become very successful in life after college years.”
As a first-generation graduate, Mike says scholarships are especially important to first-generation students. “I see how important it is to recognize that talented and deserving students get the opportunity to go to WP,” he says. “When you are not a legacy college graduate, there’s a different struggle, mindset, and challenge. Students don’t have that training from parents—not because they don’t care, but they just don’t know.”
Mike hopes sharing the story of his gifts will inspire generosity in others. “We all have different values and different things we feel are important,” he says. “If you believe that higher education is important, whatever the field is, there are many, many students who could use assistance at some level. WP helped me develop a love for learning that has carried me through my entire life. It is this love of learning that I’m hoping this contribution can instill in others.”
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