Insuring Success: Maguire Gift Benefits Top HSB Program
By: Patricia Allen ’13 (M.A.)
“Jim is a very talented business man and a very tough audience. I think he recognizes the hard work and accomplishments of everyone associated with the academy and the RMI academic program. It’s a validation of what we’ve done and a belief in our future."
Michael E. Angelina, ACAS, MAAA, CERA
Executive Director, Maguire Academy of Insurance and Risk Management
Not all that long ago, the insurance industry was facing a hiring dilemma, relates veteran insurance exec Michael E. Angelina, ACAS, MAAA, CERA, the executive director of Saint Joseph’s Academy of Insurance and Risk Management since 2012.
“There was a talent gap,” he says. “Because of competing employment sectors, people were graduating and going to work on Wall Street, for Google, Apple — you name it — and not going into insurance. Companies were faced with promoting junior executives without qualified replacements coming up behind them.”
Acutely aware of the human resource drain, James J. Maguire ’58, the founder and then chair of Philadelphia Insurance Companies, knew the time was right to begin a risk management and insurance (RMI) program in SJU’s Haub School of Business (HSB).
In 2003, he approached Timothy Lannon, S.J., who was then president of the University, and HSB Dean Joseph A. DiAngelo Jr., Ed.D. ’70, with the proposal to create a board of insurance executives to serve as the brain trust for the nascent program. This cadre of high-powered executives formed the backbone of what would become SJU’s Academy of Insurance and Risk Management.
“I brought together 30 insurance executives from all of the top companies to weigh in on what would be important to teach,” says Maguire.
At Maguire’s behest, Fr. Lannon attended each board meeting for the first two years to emphasize the high priority the University placed on creating the program. Then, in 2005, with Maguire as the driving force, HSB opened the academy to promote the concept of insurance education and to support students who would be eligible for the insurance job market.
“Our faculty became highly engaged in the creation of this program, working in cooperation with members of the advisory board to create a cutting-edge curriculum for the RMI major,” says Dean DiAngelo.
The major went live in 2010, with its first graduates receiving degrees that year; the academy hosted industry speakers to interact with and guide students, providing scholarship support almost immediately.
“We’re the only university in the country with an insurance program board comprised entirely of insurance executives, which makes us the envy of all the other programs out there,” Maguire says of the academy board.
In July, Maguire and his wife, Frances, parents of nine children, four of whom attended SJU (with three grandchildren also attending), took their commitment to the University and the RMI program to the next level with a $50 million gift — the largest in SJU history — from the Maguire Foundation.
“I am proud to have been a part of the program’s growth and to invest, today, in its continued success,” says Maguire.
The contribution — a leadership gift made in support of the University’s capital campaign — will expand several of SJU’s signature programs, boost the University’s endowment, and create and augment student scholarships and financial assistance. The RMI portion of the gift establishes critical support for the director of the academy and RMI faculty, scholarship opportunities for RMI students, and professional development opportunities for both.
“This gift advances academic excellence and will increase student access through an infusion of endowed funds for scholarships and financial assistance, which are top priorities,” says University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D. “Its specific impact on the risk management and insurance program will benefit talented students who wish to pursue careers in the field, and will also directly support the program’s faculty and leadership. Saint Joseph’s has truly been blessed by the Maguires’ generosity and dedication to the University.”
“Jim Maguire’s vision and commitment to the Haub School of Business has helped to propel our national reputation — both in risk management and insurance and as a leader in business education overall,” says Dean DiAngelo. “We are indebted to both Jim and Frannie for the loyalty they have shown the University, and for the example they provide for our students — of determination, hard work and the embodiment of Jesuit values.”
Housed in SJU’s Department of Finance, RMI now has a combined enrollment of 200 majors and minors and has been consistent in its national ranking among the top five insurance programs in U.S. News & World Report, boasting a 100 percent employment rate for graduating seniors. The academy makes use of the expertise of the insurance industry’s movers and shakers; its board of governors roster includes industry stars and stalwarts who engage RMI students as interns and in co-ops; its events bring in global insurance leaders as speakers who always take the time to meet with students; and it supports motivated RMI majors who present at top conferences, walking away with best-in-show accolades.
“Our competitive advantage, which made this growth and success possible, is that we are industry focused, and that focus is guided and inspired by Mr. Maguire,” says Angelina, referring to the program’s track record for supplying the insurance sector with its next generation of professionals — and garnering lucrative job offers in commercial insurance for RMI graduates.
Angelina adds that RMI students are exposed to all of the current issues and best practices in the industry. “By the time they graduate, they know all of the industry’s nuances, and they are actively sought by employers,” he says.
“It all started with Mr. Maguire. It was always his wish to establish a strong insurance presence at Saint Joseph’s,” says Karen Hogan, Ph.D., chair and professor of finance, who, along with other HSB faculty and Dean DiAngelo were part of the initial push to get the major off the ground and have been mainstays of the program since then. “Mr. Maguire was pivotal in beginning the first classes, and the influence of the Philadelphia industry leaders he organized to sit on the academy board cannot be overstated.”
In recognition of the Maguires’ generosity and efforts in launching and supporting the program since its inception, the academy has been named the Maguire Academy of Insurance and Risk Management.
Angelina notes that overall, the gift signifies Maguire’s confidence in SJU and the direction in which the administration is moving the University. “Jim is a very talented businessman and a very tough audience,” he says. “I think he recognizes the hard work and accomplishments of everyone associated with the academy and the RMI academic program. It’s a validation of what we’ve done and a belief in our future.”