|March 3, 2010|
Messa family makes $2 million gift to the College
Frank L. Messa, a 1973 graduate of Union and longtime benefactor to the College, and his wife, Colleen, have donated $2 million to his alma mater.
In honor of the unrestricted gift, Blue House will be renamed Messa House, with an official dedication to be held ReUnion weekend, May 27-30.
Frank and Colleen Messa
With the gift, all but one of the seven original Minerva Houses has been renamed. These include Beuth House (Philip Beuth ’54); Breazzano House (David Breazzano ’78); Golub House (William Golub ’26, from son Neil); Wold House (John ’38 and Jane Wold) and Sorum House (Christina Sorum, dean of faculty and vice president of Academic Affairs who died in 2005, from Paul Sorum).
The gift comes during the College’s $250 million “You are Union” campaign, which has raised more than $180 million to date. The recently expanded campaign is forging ahead with new momentum for significant initiatives tied to the College’s Strategic Plan.
“We are delighted to make this gift to name one of the two remaining unnamed Minerva Houses,” said Messa, who is chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees. “As we enter the last phase of the capital campaign, it is important that we achieve as many of our strategic objectives as possible, and the Minerva House system is one of the key elements of the plan.”
The Messas, who live in Saratoga Springs, have three children: Christopher, Peter and Keri ’08, who was a member of Blue House when she was a student.
“It’s impossible to grow up in the Messa household without having Union College be a part of your life,” said Keri. “The Minervas are an important part of Union and it is fitting that our family's gift be recognized by the naming of a Minerva House.”
President Stephen C. Ainlay hopes that this gift from the Messas will inspire other supporters of the College to consider a gift to rename Green House, the last of the Minerva Houses with naming rights. The innovative Minerva Houses opened in fall 2004 and serve students’ social and academic interests. All students, faculty and staff at Union are assigned to a Minerva.
“We are extremely grateful to Frank and Colleen Messa for their many contributions to Union College,” Ainlay said. “Their tireless efforts on the College's behalf and their remarkable generosity have enriched our campus in so many ways. The Messas should serve as an inspiration to all of us and it is very appropriate that their name will now grace one of our Minerva houses.”
As a student at Union, Messa earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in political science. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was a finalist for the Albert C. Ingham Prize, given to the student in social sciences judged to have done the most outstanding scholarly work.
Following graduation from Albany Law School in 1976, Messa joined the Ayco Company, a local tax and financial consulting firm. He was promoted to senior vice president of Encompass, Wealth Counseling and Estate Financial Services and was named a senior partner in 1993. Following the acquisition of the firm by Goldman Sachs in 2003, Messa was named senior vice president for International Strategies. He retired in 2006 after 30 years with the firm.
As an alumnus, Messa has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1994, serving as chairman since 2007. He is co-chair, along with Mark L. Walsh ’76, of the “You are Union” fund-raising campaign and was national chair of the Annual Fund. He served as chair of the Trustee Board of Advisors, Terrace Council and 2003 ReUnion. He also led the Presidential Selection Committee for Union’s 18th president, Stephen C. Ainlay, and was a member of the Inauguration Planning Committee. In 2003, the College’s Alumni Council recognized his outstanding service by presenting him with the Alumni Gold Medal.
Generous benefactors to Union, Messa and his family have provided funds for the renovation of Frank L. Messa Rink at Achilles Center, the renovation of Schaffer Library, and the establishment of the Frank Messa ’73 Endowed Scholarship and the Steinway Piano Fund for the new Taylor Music Center. Messa has also created endowments for the hockey program and women’s athletics.
Besides his activities at Union, he serves as a member of the conference of Board Chairs and has served on the board of directors for United Way of Northeastern New York; as a trustee of the Albany Academy for Girls, trustee for St. Gregory’s School for Boys; and a member of the parents committees of the Hotchkiss School and Duke University. He has also served on the boards of the Lake George Opera and the Union Graduate College.