Hofstra’s School of Engineering and Applied Science was renamed the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science after the Long Island native and architectural designer and engineer. The rebranding came as the result of a $10 million donation and is meant to represent the school’s progress since its establishment in 2012.
DeMatteis was once on Hofstra’s board of trustees. Since his passing in 2001, his wife Nancy DeMatteis has been a significant benefactor to the university. She now runs the DeMatteis Family Foundation, which is where the $10 million donation to the school came from.
The donation will also go towards the construction of a new building to house the engineering program.
“The fact that a foundation wants to give towards the school is impressive,” said Nicholas Buscemi, a junior engineering major. “I know it’s helping towards rebuilding a new building for the engineering program which is always good. Anytime you can get a donation like that, it’s always good for the school itself to show that it’s definitely improving, especially over the short few years that it’s been a program.”
Matheus Amaral, a junior engineering major said, “It’s rewarding to see the hard work of the students and faculty being recognized. Every professor in the department gives their best and really cares about their students’ futures.”
Dr. Sina Y. Rabbany has been the dean of Hofstra’s school of engineering since June of this year. As a important player in the operation, Rabbany assisted in supervising the process of naming the school.
“A name should reflect the vision of who we are as a school,” Rabbany said. “The name Fred DeMatteis is going to be emblematic of those practitioners of engineering who over their long and distinguished career have valued talent, maybe promoted innovation and provided accountability in their projects.”
DeMatteis is known for his iconic work in the engineering field, having designed and constructed a number of famous buildings and high-rises in the U.S., as well as in other parts of the world. One of his better known structures, RexCorp Plaza – the glass office building located on Hempstead Turnpike – stands only minutes away from Hofstra University. It is here where locals are constantly reminded of his legacy.
Karla Schuster, the assistant vice president of University Relations, said, “Fred DeMatteis was a visionary builder who left an enduring mark on the skyline of New York City and Long Island. … Having his name associated with the School of Engineering and Applied Science sends a message to the students, as well as to the wider community about the personal, professional and academic values that define the institution.”
“I think in years to come we should be able to proudly display his name on our school as an inspiration for our current students and future generations of students who decide to study engineering or computer science. It is our hope that these students will be able to emulate Fred’s contributions to society,” Rabbany said.
Despite the fact that donations are normally allocated to the General Endowment Fund, Rabbany remains hopeful that some of it will go directly to addressing the critical needs of the school over the next five years. Of course, the new name to the school means a number of things for engineering students on its own. A major benefit is that it adds a more profound legitimacy to their degree.
Miguel Mariscal, a sophomore engineering major, hadn’t realized the significance of the rebranding at first. “Having an actual foundation be interested in the school of engineering shows how much the school is growing and how much they believe that it’ll keep growing to educate and form very successful engineers and scientists,” he said.
Although junior engineering major Diana Hess won’t see some of the major advancements to their completion, she recognizes the advantages that the changes will offer for future students. “The extension will definitely benefit incoming students. I mean they’re building a new building and the name is definitely going to have an impact on the degree. Employers will look at it and see that you didn’t just go to a school of engineering, you went to a school with the title of a man who did really good things in that industry.”