Editor’s Note: This article has been edited post-publication to correct for spelling and grammar errors.
On Nov. 14, the brand new Rowan Welcome Center hosted a monumental occasion for Rowan’s College of Communication & Creative Arts (CCCA) students. Distinguished alumni Ric and Jean Edelman announced their $10 million endowment donation to the CCCA, the largest endowment in the college’s history.
“I think if you asked us when we were alum, would we be standing here, once again giving a very significant gift, I don’t think we would be able to say yes. But it’s the wonderful education that we got here which made us who we are,” said the former Glassboro State (now Rowan) student Jean Edelman.
She is, of course, referring to their previous donations: the $1 million to the Edelman Planetarium, as well as the $25 million donations to create the unique Edelman Fossil Park. However, this donation is different as it will go directly to tuition and career development for CCCA majors.
“We want to help make it easier, not merely for tuition or scholarships, but for professional developments,” Ric Edelman said during a press conference before the announcement. “So much of our education was obtained outside the classroom.”
The Edelmans’ education proved valuable, considering the couple created Edelman Financial Services (EFS), one of the most significant independent financial planning and investment management firms in the country. The Edelmans may be a prevalent force in the world of finance, but Ric Edelman didn’t study business at all; he was a public relations major. Hence, the donation to the College of Communication & Creative Arts specifically.
According to Ric Edelman, the donation was inspired by a desire to give back to the institution that got the couple started.
“It is because this is where we went, and the fact that our experience here at Rowan, then Glassboro State, helped set us on the path to success, we felt it important to give back,” Edelman said. “Rather than giving money to another organization where we had no connection, this made more sense for us.”
Ric Edelman was further asked if he sees more philanthropic value donating to a public college, rather than a private one.
“It’s fascinating; most philanthropists who donate to higher education donate to private schools, on the attitude that public schools are supported by the state,” Edelman explained. “Our view is that New Jersey’s budget is stretched and unable to provide the resources that Rowan needs.”
Rowan Radio station manager for WGLS-FM, Derek Jones, emphasized the great benefits CCCA students will receive from the Edelman’s donation.
“The center of the college is on storytelling, and I think that students who want to produce high-quality content will benefit from this,” Jones said. “Whether it’s attending conferences or even doing reporting on the road, this gift is an opportunity to push those initiatives through.”
SGA President Arielle Gedeon was also in attendance. As a Radio, Television & Film major herself, she was amazed about what the endowment could mean for CCCA majors.
“What this endowment means is that Rowan students can now afford to spend the time to participate in many workshops and networking events,” Gedeon said. “Many college students are worried about finding a job and paying off their enormous college debt, instead of networking. The endowment might not fix the problem outright, but it will certainly mediate the anxiety Rowan students have about the future.”
The Dean of the College of Communication & Creative Arts, Sandy Tweedie, also expressed excitement about the Edelman’s donation. Tweedie has advocated for further development of Rowan’s College of Communication & Creative Arts for some time. With the endowment, the future seems bright for many of Rowan’s current and future CCCA majors.
“Not only will this help current students further their careers, but it will also lay a great foundation for future students who are looking to get into communication,” Tweedie said. “It’s imperative that we help our students succeed however we can. With this endowment, I’m confident that we’ll be able to accomplish that.”
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