Ray Neag ’56, and his wife, Carole Neag, the most generous donors in the history of the University of Connecticut, have been honored as the state’s leading philanthropists.
The 2010 Outstanding Philanthropist Award was presented by the Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in a ceremony on Nov. 19 at the Holiday Inn in Waterbury. It paid tribute to Ray Neag, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Connecticut in 1956 and went on to help found and lead Arrow International Inc., a leading manufacturer of disposable critical-care and cardiac products for the medical industry, and Carole Neag, a graduate of the St. Francis School of Nursing who serves on the UConn School of Nursing’s Advisory Board.
Among the Neags’ many significant donations are a transformative $21 million gift in 1999 to the School of Education, the largest gift to a school of education in the country to that date and the largest single gift in UConn’s history. Just one decade later, the Neag School of Education is ranked the No. 1 public graduate school of education in the Northeast and the 20th best public graduate school of education in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.
“Ray and Carole Neag have an incomparable love for this university, which they have demonstrated over and over again through their passionate support for programs across the entire institution,” says interim University President Philip Austin. “We are deeply grateful for their longtime support, and so proud to see them acknowledged for it by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.”
The couple was nominated for the award by the University of Connecticut Foundation, which is in the midst of a $600 million fundraising campaign, Our University. Our Moment. The Campaign for UConn, to benefit UConn’s students and faculty.
“The University of Connecticut is extraordinarily lucky to have such dedicated friends as the Neags,” says Thomas C. DeFranco, dean of the Neag School of Education. “Ray and Carole are visionaries who share our belief in the School of Education’s promise to improve the academic performance and health and well-being of all children in Connecticut and across the nation.”
The Neags also provided a substantial gift in 2003 to endow the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UConn Health Center. “I am continually amazed by Carole and Ray Neag’s magnanimity,” says Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Their investments in the UConn Health Center have improved our quality of clinical care and helped us recruit nationally renowned faculty. It is my privilege to congratulate the Neags on behalf of the entire UConn Health Center.”
UConn honored Ray Neag with an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2001. The Neags have also given generously of their time. Ray Neag served on the board of directors of the UConn Foundation from 1996 to 2001. Currently, he is on the advisory boards of the Neag School of Education and the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at the UConn Health Center. The Neags also are honorary chairs of the campaign steering committee for Our University. Our Moment.