Kean Graduate Donates $50,000 to Create an Endowed Scholarship in Honor of His Parents and Two Professors

October 2023

Michael (Mike) Milazzo '11 recently made a significant donation to the Kean University Foundation to help support students. The Martha Gillen and Budd Milazzo Endowed Scholarship Honoring Jack Sargent and Fred Fitch will provide opportunities for Kean University students in perpetuity. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a communications major with between 60 and 95 credits. Strong preference will be given to NJ residents with financial need. The scholarship can be applied to tuition, fees or room and board.

Bill Miller, CEO of the Kean University Foundation, said, “We are so very appreciative and excited that alumni like Mike are continuing to invest in Kean University. Through the establishment of the Martha Gillen and Budd Milazzo Endowed Scholarship Honoring Jack Sargent and Fred Fitch, we look to positively impact the academic experience by offering students pursuing a degree in communications transformational opportunities as well as philanthropic resources that can get them over the finish line to graduation and beyond.”

When asked why he decided to give back, Mike said, “I enjoyed my time at Kean University immensely. Everything I have today can be attributed to my parents and professors. I am especially grateful to Jack Sargent and Fred Fitch for their friendship and help along the way. My parents also never gave up on me.”

Mike grew up in North Brunswick, NJ and initially attended Rutgers University. After taking some time off and being influenced by his parents and friends, he transferred to Kean in 2009. During his first year at Kean, Mike was fortunate to have professors Sargent and Fitch. He admired how both professors encouraged and inspired their students which is why he is motivated to give back today. He strongly feels that if it weren’t for both professors, he would not have found the confidence or footing to have gone on to become a partner at an international law firm.

Professors Sargent and Fitch have expressed their honor and surprise towards Mike’s generosity. They are pleased that this scholarship for communication majors will have a big impact on the lives of the students who will receive them.

Professor Sargent stated, “It is heartwarming and gratifying to know that I’ve helped Mike achieve where he is today. It makes me feel proud of him, our department and all of the faculty who support our students. Our students will now benefit because of the positive experiences Mike had at Kean and his generosity in giving back to his alma mater.”

Professor Fitch added, “Mike’s gift is probably the highest honor a professor can receive because it’s going to keep on giving back. I broke down and cried. There is no feeling like it and I never would have dreamed of this.”

When Mike was asked what he would say to fellow Kean alumni who had a similar experience at Kean and are thinking of paying it forward, Mike said, “Continue to embody all the ideals and characteristics that brought you to Kean and remember that giving back is a way to pay it forward to others who have given to you and helped motivate and push you forward.”