Franklin Pierce University receives $1.75 million gift

A rendering of the Dr. Kim Mooney ’83 Student Success Center.

A rendering of the Dr. Kim Mooney ’83 Student Success Center. —COURTESY PHOTO

Published: 06-15-2024 12:01 PM

Franklin Pierce University has received the largest philanthropic commitment in its history, a total of $1.75 million from trustee Frederick W. Pierce IV and his wife Christine Pierce.

According to the university’s announcement, this commitment, which includes a $750,000 gift and a $1 million bequest intention, will fund the construction of the new Student Success Center (SSC) and ensure its operations. 

 “Creating an integrated Student Success Center that provides all students – undergraduate, graduate and online – with readily accessible and relevant support services has been a key element of our strategic plan, Pierce@60,” stated President Kim Mooney. “This ambitious plan will make it easier for our students to access the support they need to thrive at, and graduate from, Franklin Pierce, and we are deeply grateful that Fred and Christine understood this vision and provided the leadership gift to make it a reality.”

Located on the first and second floor of the DiPietro Library, the Student Success Center will include Student Accessibility Services, the Wensberg Writing Center, international student services and peer tutoring, along with programs and services that are not specifically academic, such as the Peer Leaders program.

The Lloyd and Helen Ament Astmann ’69 Career Center will also be part of the Student Success Center, to help students make connections between college and their professional goals. The Astmann Center will also play a role in developing experiential learning opportunities through paid internship programs that integrate into academic courses of study. 

 “At the heart of any vibrant university is a center that brings together in a single location the services essential to an academic career – and the professionals that support those activities,” stated Fred Pierce. “As we learned more about the project, Christine and I just had to be a part of this.”

The Student Success Center will also support the Paths@Pierce initiative, which provides and structures academic offerings so all undergraduate programs connect either to a graduate degree or to a career trajectory. A student’s path will be based on their ultimate objective, whether that includes being ready for the job market upon graduation, completing an undergraduate degree in three years or progressing to a graduate degree with an accelerated completion option. In many programs, students will also be able to take their courses online and in person.

“The consolidation of all support services in one central and easy to access space, combined with proactive outreach by the new Student Success Center, will make a world of difference in helping our students succeed while at Franklin Pierce, and through to graduation,” stated Derek Scalia, director of the Student Success Center.

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At the Pierces’ request, the center will be named the Dr. Kim Mooney ’83 Student Success Center. Mooney, the first alumna and first woman to serve as president of Franklin Pierce, will retire at the end of this month after serving eight years as president. A former trustee, she previously served as the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“Christine and I never thought about naming this project after us. What we considered was, ‘Who best embodies a commitment to FPU students? Who would deserve such a legacy and whose legacy would most benefit the Center?’ For us the answer was easy, and we were therefore delighted to surprise President Mooney by asking that the new center named after her,” stated Pierce.

Fred Pierce has served on the Franklin Pierce Board of Trustees since 2017, most recently as chair from 2019 to 2023. He has spent his career in real estate investment, development, consulting, finance and acquisition.

Since 1995, he has served as the president, CEO, and principal shareholder of Pierce Education Properties, an owner, operator and developer of student housing. He has also led the finance and appraisal divisions for KPMG/Goodkin Group, and was recruited by Price Waterhouse (today known as PwC) to start and build their real estate consulting practice.