College of Saint Elizabeth calls $5M bequest ‘transformational’

Antoinette Anastasia ('51) bequeathed $5M to the College of St. Elizabeth. Photo courtesy of CSE
Antoinette Anastasia ('51) bequeathed $5M to the College of St. Elizabeth. Photo courtesy of CSE
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The biology wing at the College of Saint Elizabeth now bears her name, after she gave the Morris Township school its largest outright gift, to renovate its laboratories in 2012.

Antoinette Anastasia ('51) bequeathed $5M to the College of St. Elizabeth. Photo courtesy of CSE
Antoinette Anastasia (’51) bequeathed $5M to the College of St. Elizabeth. Photo courtesy of CSE

Although Antoinette M. Anastasia passed away in December, her generosity continues: The college on Tuesday announced it has received a $5 million bequest from the late alumna (’51).

“Her gift is transformational at this time in the College’s history as we continue to serve those who have not traditionally had access to higher education,” CSE President Helen J. Streubert said in a statement.

Facing declining enrollment and staff cutbacks, the school went co-ed last year. It had been the state’s last all-women’s undergraduate college.

A spokesperson said the college will use the bequest to enhance the academic program in the sciences and improve campus facilities.

Anastasia, who lived in Elizabeth, majored in biology at CSE and earned advanced degrees at Columbia University.

She started as a research assistant in the pharmaceutical industry, then enjoyed a long career as a biology professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Streubert said Anastasia helped her envision the college’s future, especially in the sciences, when Streubert assumed the presidency a few years ago.

Here is more from the College of Saint Elizabeth:

TRANSFORMATIVE BEQUEST TO THE COLLEGE OF SAINT ELIZABETH

A $5 million bequest was awarded to the College of Saint Elizabeth. The donor is Dr. Antoinette M. Anastasia, of Elizabeth, N.J., an alumna. Dr. Anastasia passed away on Dec. 2, 2016. 

“Dr. Anne was a wonderful friend to the College,” said President Helen J. Streubert.

“Early in my tenure she worked closely with me to envision what could be the future for the College, specifically in the sciences.  Anne was always generous in spirit.  Her gift is transformational at this time in the College’s history as we continue to serve those who have not traditionally had access to higher education”
 
The College of Saint Elizabeth community was honored to recognize Dr. Anastasia as its 2015 Mother Xavier Award recipient, the highest honor bestowed upon an alumna of the school each year on Founders Day for recalling the vision, courage and faith of the founder of the College of Saint Elizabeth, Mother Mary Xavier Mehegan.

In 2012, Dr. Anastasia anonymously gave the College the largest outright gift in the college’s history, to renovate its biology labs in Henderson Hall.  The biology wing has now been named in her honor. 
 
Dr. Anastasia graduated from the College of Saint Elizabeth in 1951 with a B.S. in Biology. She went on to earn her M.A. and Ed.D. from Columbia University. 

Dr. Anastasia started her career as a research assistant, first at Schering Plough Corporation and then Merck & Co. Inc. She taught human anatomy & physiology at a local hospital’s school of nursing and then became a professor of biology at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J., where she taught throughout her long career. 
 
Dr. Anastasia described herself as an educator. As an administrator, it was important for her to remain a teacher in the classroom to give students personal attention. She attributed the College of Saint Elizabeth with giving her a firm foundation and preparing her well for her life as an educator. 
 

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