Investing in the Future

Rutgers–Camden alum’s transformative gift will fund a new major in entrepreneurship and innovation

Robert DiStanislao CCAS’83 is a successful business owner and guest lecturer at the School of Business at Rutgers University in Camden, sharing what he has learned in a lifetime of work with students at the start of their careers. With the recent announcement that DiStanislao, owner of the RDS Automotive Group, will make a significant planned gift to support the study of entrepreneurship at Rutgers–Camden, his dedication and commitment to the university and its students will live on well into the future.

“This generous gift promises to leave a legacy that heightens our ability to deliver on Rutgers–Camden’s commitment to excellence,” Dean Monica Adya said. “Mr. DiStanislao’s gift will build a strong academic and career foundation for budding entrepreneurs and support economic development in the long run,” Adya said.

Robert DiStanislao, CCAS’83

Robert DiStanislao, CCAS’83

(left to right) Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis, a student from the School of Business–Camden, and Robert DiStanislao

(left to right) Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis, a student from the School of Business–Camden, and Robert DiStanislao

The School of Business, which currently offers a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation, plans to introduce a new major in the area because of DiStanislao's gift. Additionally, the school intends to leverage the gift to launch an entrepreneur fellowship program, develop a study abroad program focused on entrepreneurship, and support ventures designed to spur regional and state-wide economic development. Long-term plans include the development of design labs, incubator spaces, and other programs designed to support innovation and growth.

“Mr. DiStanislao’s support will be transformative for our students and the constituents we serve,” Adya said. "As a loyal alumnus and successful entrepreneur committed to the success of our future business professionals, he has always been generous with his time and wisdom, and we are incredibly grateful to him for his commitment to Rutgers–Camden.”

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DiStanislao, a native of South Jersey, has strong ties to Rutgers; his father attended night school at Rutgers–Camden, and his older sister, Mary DiStanislao, earned her undergraduate degree at Douglass College. He has been a guest lecturer at Rutgers–Camden for 15 years, offering practical guidance and encouragement. He ends each lecture by sharing his contact information and encourages students to call him with any questions.

For DiStanislao, the goal is to support the dreams and aspirations of young entrepreneurs who have the potential to change the world. “There is a wide-open field of need,” DiStanislao said in a recent lecture to students. “Find a need that you are expert in filling, create an answer, and go after that. There is much opportunity for you. Take the leap.” 

Visit the Rutgers University Foundation website to read the full story.

Creative Design: Karaamat Abdullah
Photographer: Avi Steinhardt

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