CBS executive Anthony M. Bongiorno set out to accomplish three goals by establishing a scholarship this year at Stony Brook University’s College of Arts and Sciences.
The 1981 political science graduate especially wanted a hand in empowering young women pursuing an education in science. Bongiorno also believed it was important to give back to his alma mater, while fulfilling his parents’ wishes that he work to have a positive impact on people in his community.
“I’ve achieved all three with this endowment,” Bongiorno said. “This endowment is part of the lesson my parents imparted to me to make a difference in my community and to care about other people.”
The educational experience of his 22-year-old daughter – who graduated from an all-girls high school in New York City and is now a junior in college applying to medical schools – motivated Bongiorno to commit $125,000 to create the Anthony M. Bongiorno Endowed Scholarship for Women in Science.
“I am very fortunate and grateful to be able to provide the financial resources that helped my daughter thrive while pursuing her passion for science,” said Bongiorno, a senior vice president and associate general counsel of litigation at CBS Corporation. “I want other young women to have a similar opportunity to pursue their passion for science.
“This endowment is about my interest in empowering young women and being thankful for the terrific education I received at Stony Brook,” added Bongiorno, who joined CBS in 1987 and is on the board of two charitable organizations, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America and Active Minds, Inc.
Dexter A. Bailey Jr., senior vice president for Advancement at Stony Brook, said, ‘‘Bongiorno’s generosity allows Stony Brook and Mr. Bongiorno to achieve a common goal – to make it possible for a woman, who otherwise may not have been able to afford to do so, to pursue her passion for science at Stony Brook.”
“Endowed scholarships established specifically to benefit women studying science help to close the scientific gender gap,” said Dr. Sacha Kopp, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Women should always be encouraged to pursue their interest in science. We’re thrilled that Mr. Bongiorno, through his generosity, is making it easier for women to do this at Stony Brook.”
Bongiorno grew up in Commack – the son of two social workers – and lived there while commuting to his classes at Stony Brook. The veteran litigator credits the late Merton Reichler, an inspiring professor who taught political science and law classes at Stony Brook for three decades, with illuminating his interest in law.
“Professor Reichler really made an impression on me. He was such an engaging lecturer,” said Bongiorno, who lives in Manhattan. “Because of this professor and because of some of the other law-related classes I took at Stony Brook, I had an epiphany and I realized during my sophomore year that law was the path I wanted to take.”
These days, Bongiorno, who is the chief litigator for all of CBS Corporation, said he looks forward to receiving his copy of Stony Brook Magazine and reading about exciting developments on campus and the accomplishments of fellow alumni.
“It makes me extremely proud to see how the school has grown to become an even more preeminent university,” he said.
Bailey, who also serves as executive director of the Stony Brook Foundation, noted that the university’s success would not be possible without philanthropic support.
“Philanthropy enables Stony Brook to help more than 1,200 students annually with merit- and need-based student scholarship and fellowship support,” Bailey said.
— By Brian Harmon