Donald G. Costello wanted to provide opportunities for students with an entrepreneurial mindset. The co-founder, owner, and president of Century Stair Company, the largest stair manufacturer on the East Coast, through his estate, has given a $50 million planned gift to rename George Mason University’s Donald G. Costello College of Business. The largest-ever school-naming gift provides scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students who are studying business and entrepreneurship.
The name change became official on Nov. 1 thanks to SCHEV approval and was celebrated Nov. 30 with a reception at Dewberry Hall on the Fairfax Campus.
“Having the Costello name grace our College of Business is a tremendous source of pride for us at Mason,” said Mason President Gregory Washington said. “Because Mr. Costello embodies the diversity, inclusivity, grit, and audacity that we identify, develop, and instill in our students—not only in the College of Business, but throughout our university.”
On hand for the event were Donald G. Costello Trusts Executor and Trustee Joe Contrucci and his wife, Peg, Costello’s daughter Sara and her mother Claudia Martin, as well as Mason students, faculty and staff.
“What began as a phone call between two friends and business associates three years ago has become the largest school naming gift in the 51-year history of George Mason University,” said Dean Ajay Vinzé, referring to the moment when Contrucci made what proved to be a pivotal call to Mason Board of Visitors member Jimmy Hazel.
Vice President for University Advancement and Alumni Relations and President of the George Mason University Foundation Trishana E. Bowden expanded on how the gift came to fruition.
“As many of you know, this important evening had its beginnings in Prince William County, during a lunch a few years ago with long-time George Mason University friend—and former rector of our Board of Visitors—Jimmy Hazel, along with the marvelous Peg and Joe Contrucci,” she said. “We talked about their dear friend, Donald Costello, a successful entrepreneur and Northern Virginia native, and his desire to help other aspiring businesspeople find a way to launch their futures.”
This transformative gift paves the way forward for the Costello College of Business as it continues to grow its enrollment, academic programs and endowment.
“I can assure you that the Costello College of Business is going to be known by what we do and what our impact is,” Vinzé said. “We will be known as a college that made a difference.”