Joseph A. Panepinto Sr., CEO and president of Panepinto Properties – Photo by LDO Photo/Courtesy: Panepinto Properties
By Joshua Burd
Developer Joseph A. Panepinto has donated $10 million to Saint Peter’s University, marking the largest-ever philanthropic gift to the Jersey City school in its nearly 150-year history.
The university said Friday that the historic gift by Panepinto, a Jersey City native and Saint Peter’s alumnus, would advance its recent achievements, accolades and dedication to its mission of Jesuit higher education. The gift will also “dramatically” advance the development of the school’s west campus and make its offerings more accessible to its growing student body, touting the donation as a “bold endorsement” of the university’s vision for the future.
“We are incredibly grateful to Joe for this extraordinary gift and for his confidence in Saint Peter’s ascent,” said Eugene J. Cornacchia, president of Saint Peter’s University. “Throughout his career, Joe has maintained a commitment to his beginnings — in Jersey City and at Saint Peter’s. We take great pride in the unstoppable growth of Saint Peter’s and the city alike. There is no doubt that leaders like Joe have helped to make this mutual success possible.”
Panepinto, the CEO and president of Panepinto Properties, has been developing in Jersey City for more than 40 years and is a member of the Saint Peter’s board of trustees. He has also been a donor to Saint Peter’s for more than 50 years, the university said, noting that the $10 million gift is his largest philanthropic contribution to any institution.
“As a native of Jersey City it has long been my aim to help in the revitalization of this city,” Panepinto said. “Some of the most important parts of our community are its charitable and nonprofit institutions. Education is certainly a very important one. Therefore, by supporting Saint Peter’s we are supporting the future growth of our community.”
Panepinto began his career in 1971 as an aspiring criminal lawyer, before becoming the city’s planning board attorney and ultimately turning to real estate. As both an attorney and a developer, he has ties to virtually every major project in the city since the late 1970s.
Saint Peter’s said Panepinto’s gift underscores significant increases in philanthropic activity for the institution over the past decade. That includes the conclusion of a campaign that raised more than $64 million and built the Mac Mahon Student Center in honor of lead donor Thomas P. Mac Mahon, a 1968 graduate of the university.
“As a fellow Jersey City business owner with a long, personal history in the city, it is impressive and encouraging to see that the positive momentum of Saint Peter’s mirrors the boom of Jersey City,” said Frank L. Fekete, managing partner of Mandel, Fekete & Bloom CPAs and chair of the university’s board of trustees. “Joe’s faith in the mission and his generosity are enabling the University to play a leading role in this revitalization.”