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Hofstra renaming school after DeMatteis with $10M gift

Hofstra University's School of Engineering & Applied Science

Hofstra University's School of Engineering & Applied Science is to be named for Fred DeMatteis, the builder who was longtime chairman and chief executive officer of The DeMatteis Organization and a former Hofstra trustee. Credit: Hofstra University & Ed Betz

Hofstra University will receive a $10 million gift to name its School of Engineering and Applied Science after the late Fred DeMatteis, a Long Island builder responsible for hundreds of residential, commercial and public projects nationally and internationally.

DeMatteis, who died in 2001, was the longtime chairman and chief executive officer of The DeMatteis Organizations, an Elmont-based company best known for New York City’s residential Museum Tower over the Museum of Modern Art, the 100 United Nations Plaza residential tower and the Ruppert-Yorkville Towers and Knickerbocker Plaza.

The former Old Westbury resident led the development and construction of the former EAB Plaza, now called RXR Plaza, two rounded glass buildings across Hempstead Turnpike from the Nassau Coliseum.

“As successful as he was as a builder, Fred DeMatteis’ legacy is much more than bricks and mortar; it can be seen in the work of the institutions that he supported, and in the lives those institutions touch,” Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz said.

The gift marks the fourth significant donation since 2011 to Hofstra University that has resulted in the naming of an academic school. The three others are: the Maurice A. Deane School of Law; the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication; and the Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs.

The DeMatteis Family Foundation, the nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by DeMatteis and his wife, Nancy, had previously donated $5 million to the Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine. The atrium of the medical school building on the north side of the Hempstead campus is named after DeMatteis.

Nancy DeMatteis, upon meeting with Rabinowitz in 2000, decided to support the university because she wanted to focus on an educational institution located on Long Island and she “shared his vision for Hofstra,” said Donald M. Schaeffer, a trustee of the DeMatteis Family Foundation.

“Mrs. DeMatteis certainly understood, through Fred DeMatteis, the importance of engineering and technology. She was intrigued about the vision for the school going forward and the contributions that that school would be making to the community,” Schaeffer said.

Hofstra won a $25 million state grant earlier this year to help fund a new, 65,000-square-foot building for the school of engineering. A construction timeline or cost estimates have yet to be determined, a Hofstra spokeswoman said last week.


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