The UConn Foundation has received a $1.5 million commitment that will help students majoring in political science or a business discipline pay for college.
Alumnus Richard Minoff ’75 has bequeathed the scholarship funds for students in those majors. The gift will be evenly split between the political science department and the School of Business, helping students well into the future.
“Richard’s generous gift will help business focused students to afford a UConn education and, once here, to concentrate on their studies, not their finances. We are tremendously grateful for his bequest,” says John A. Elliott, dean of the School of Business.
The donation is one of the latest to the Foundation’s Transform Lives scholarship initiative, which aims to raise $150 million, effectively doubling the amount available for scholarships and student support.
The gift will help students like Katie Cavanaugh ’17, who is actually double majoring in both political science and management information systems. Cavanaugh, 20, of South Windsor, says financial aid allows her to do business internships and research and has given her parents some financial relief.
“Having that funding has made UConn a gift for me and my family and has taken the burden off them,” she says.
Jeremy Teitelbaum, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, says the planned gift will help many like Cavanaugh.
“With more than 600 undergraduate majors, political science is one of the most popular programs of study at UConn. For many of these aspiring public servants, Mr. Minoff’s gift will make earning an excellent political science education financially possible,” Teitelbaum says.
Minoff, a successful pharmaceutical marketing and brand executive from Lansdale, Pa., majored in political science at UConn and went on to business school at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Amazingly, he was able to finish both college and business school combined in 3.5 years.
As he looks back on his career, Minoff says he realizes that his education at the University of Connecticut has been the foundation for his success. He has fond memories of influential professors who stoked his desire to learn both at the Storrs campus and the Stamford branch. He says his liberal arts education at UConn gave him a strong foundation that has taken him far around the world.
“I do believe strongly in a liberal arts education,” he says. “I believe one of the reasons I’ve been able to do so well globally is my knowledge of art, of philosophy, of history and politics, and even astronomy. Really, it’s being well-rounded and being taught to think critically, to think broadly–that was originally nurtured at UConn. I’m fortunate if I can help other people move forward to develop their skills in these areas.”
UConn Foundation President and CEO Joshua R. Newton thanked Minoff for his gift.
“His generous bequest is critical to our goal of providing more scholarship aid to UConn students,” Newton says.
After graduating UConn, at age 23, Minoff briefly worked as a fulltime college professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania but says he quickly realized he could not live on an $11,200 salary. He then took a job working for Mobil Oil in New Orleans. When the company asked him to relocate to another country, his wife urged him to change careers and get into the pharmaceutical industry.
He rose rapidly through the management ranks at GlaxoSmithKline, and then Wyeth Pharmaceutical as director of marketing. After more than a dozen years as a pharmaceutical executive, he moved into the global healthcare communications and advertising industry. He was a founding member of one firm, which he grew from seven employees to 135, and then joined one of his former agencies, Dorland Global as managing partner to turn around that failing organization. Over the next five years, he grew Dorland Global into a global powerhouse and the second largest privately held global healthcare communications companies in the world. Then he sold the firm to Huntsworth PLC, a London-based mega media company and agreed to stay on for two years as President and CEO.
Minoff, who is widowed and has a son, Greg, and granddaughter, Maddie, now runs his own boutique pharmaceutical and life sciences consultancy called 1 Global Partners. In 2011, he also became associate professor and director of the Undergraduate Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business Program at The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where he teaches a range of marketing and sales courses.
During his career, he has launched more than 75 brands and companies, including billion-dollar breakthrough drugs such as Avastin, Diovan, Glivec, Lamisil, and Neoral. He is proud that he has been able to help bring life-prolonging drugs to patients suffering from deadly illnesses, such as cancer. Clearly “you can transform lives,” he says.
“‘I was able to help patients make it to their child’s weddings, graduations and other significant life events for which they are grateful. When you have the ability to help bring a drug into the world from a marketing standpoint, that’s a legacy. That’s something to be proud of.”
Elliott says that Minoff’s contributions to the pharmaceutical industry to market life extending cancer medications are remarkable.
“He is an inspiration to our students, many of whom, like Richard, believe that social benevolence should be part of the fabric of every successful company, and that improving the world is not an optional endeavor,” Elliott says.