Lasell receives largest gift in University history

Thanks to the largest gift in the 170-year history of the institution, the Lasell University business school has a new name: the Michal Longe ’95 School of Business.

Michal’s mother, Barbara P’95, made a gift of stock resulting in a $6.6 million donation to name the school in memory of her daughter, an outstanding business student who earned an associate’s degree in marketing from what was then Lasell College in 1995.

“On behalf of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, I want to thank Barbara Longe for her transformational gift to Lasell,” said Vice President of University Advancement Chelsea Gwyther. “Barbara’s gift will help accelerate the learning opportunities for current and future students across our campus.”

Said Lasell President Michael Alexander: “Barbara’s generous gift comes at an important time for the University and reflects Lasell’s student-focused, individualized approach. Lasell continues to occupy a valuable position in American higher education by offering students a high-quality education at the net cost of a large public university, but with the intimacy and individualized experience of a small, student-centric college.”

“In addition,” Alexander said, “by designating this gift to our endowment, Barbara’s generosity will help to sustain the financial foundation of the University for decades to come.”

Barbara’s gift reflects her appreciation for Lasell’s efforts to support Michal, who suffered from Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system, and other organs.

“While Michal was a student, the faculty, staff, and Michal’s fellow students went to extraordinary lengths to help her enjoy a fulfilling academic, residential, and social experience,” Barbara said. “She spoke fondly of her time at Lasell and enjoyed some of the happiest times of her life as a student.”

During her senior year, Michal received Lasell’s Book Award for excellence in marketing and was named Gardner House’s top math/accounting student.

“Michal loved Lasell and Lasell loved her back,” said Kathleen O’Connor, who recently retired as Lasell’s vice president of enrollment management. “She was a wonderful student who brought a smile to everyone’s face during her years on campus.”

After graduation, Michal worked as a marketing executive for D.A. Collins Construction, which was founded by her grandfather, Donald. She helped raise millions of dollars as a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and promoted organ donation to save lives. Michal died of complications from her disease on Oct. 28, 2003, in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The gift will fund the continued growth of the Michal Longe ’95 School of Business, provide scholarship aid for students, and support faculty.