By Irish Echo Staff
Manhattan College will have good reason to celebrate its Irish heritage this St. Patrick’s Day.
And celebrate one of its most successful Irish American alums.
Tom O’Malley, a 1963 graduate, is planning to provide the largest gift in the college’s history: $25 million to increase student scholarships and grants, while deepening curriculum and research opportunities.
As a result of O’Malley’s gift the college’s School of Business will then be known as The O’Malley School of Business.
Having grown up in Staten Island in the 1950s, O’Malley paid for college by driving a cab on weekends and a bus for a private school on weekdays.
His working-class background mirrors Manhattan College’s student body: one third of the 3,400 undergrads are first-generation students; more than half are from the New York tri-state area. O’Malley is giving those students the opportunity for an affordable education at a small school in the world’s financial capital.
A formal dedication of the O’Malley School of Business will take place in September of this year, said a release from the college.
Added the release: O’Malley and his wife, Mary Alice, are the most generous donors in Manhattan College’s history. They provided the leadership gift to build the O’Malley Library on campus, and donated $10 million to help support the construction of the Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons, named after O’Malley’s classmate and the former New York City police commissioner.
“Mary Alice and I are pleased to continue our support for Manhattan College,” said Tom O’Malley.
“It’s an institution that has remained faithful to its core values. It provides a top quality education in a dynamic and open environment while at the same time maintaining its Catholic identity.
“A very substantial portion of the student body supports Lasallian traditions of service to those less fortunate by volunteering in local, national and international support programs.
“Its diverse student body doesn’t reject liberal or conservative ideas, or positions, but rather debates them.
“Manhattan has also continued its historical support of the nation’s military by maintaining a strong ROTC program and being rated by veterans of our military as a top institution to attend after serving your country.”
O’Malley’s $25 million gift to the School of Business, said the college’s relese, will provide a wide variety of opportunities for Manhattan College students to succeed in the financial capital of the world.
The gift is designed to make a Manhattan College education accessible to students from all backgrounds, while strengthening the college’s connections with the New York City business world through hands-on, experiential opportunities. The gift will also support teaching and research focused on the present and future economics of energy, the release stated.
“The O’Malley gift takes our School of Business to a whole new level,” said Brennan O’Donnell, president of Manhattan College.
“It allows us to expand and deepen our curriculum and research, encourage innovative pedagogy, and strengthen our support for experiential learning.
“We are extremely grateful to Tom, Mary Alice, and their family for their steadfast generosity in supporting students, faculty, and programs. We are proud to be home to The O’Malley School of Business.”
After graduating and after six months of service in the army reserves, Tom O’Malley joined the commodity trading company Philipp Brothers, and spent nine years living and working in Europe.
He worked his way up through the Philipp Brothers organization, returned to the United States in 1975, was eventually named president of its energy division and, in 1984, was named vice chairman of Salomon Brothers, which eventually became the parent of Philipp Brothers.
O’Malley left Salomon in 1986 to pursue private business interests, which included a substantial investment in a small oil refining corporation in California called Tosco.
He became Tosco’s chairman and CEO in 1990 and built it up over a ten-year period into the largest independent oil refiner and gasoline retailer in the United States. The company was sold in 2001 to Phillips Petroleum, where O’Malley was appointed as vice chairman. After other successful ventures in the petroleum industry he retired in 2016.
Tom and Mary Alice O’Malley, said the Manhattan College release, have also provided philanthropic support to a number of causes close to them, including a recent gift that goes toward scholarships for children of current police officers, firefighters and nurses attending Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford, Connecticut.
Tom O’Malley was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Manhattan College in 2012. Married for more than fifty years, the O’Malleys have four grown children and ten grandchildren. They live in Palm Beach, Florida while maintaining a home in Greenwich, Connecticut.