The Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey, A New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation, brought two nonprofit working toward similar goals on behalf of the independent college sector in the State and the students who choose a private college education together in 2021. Since the inception of creating an organization that would promote awareness of the impact of independent higher education and garner support for the colleges and their 62,000+ students, leadership has come from a number of talented and committed people.

2021 to Present
Stephen R. Reynolds

2018 to 2021
Louis Manzione, Ph.D.

1990 to 2018
John B. Wilson, Esq

Joseph Weber (Interim)

1981 to 1990
Francis J. Mertz

1981 to 1990
Francis J. Mertz

William Weathersby (Interim)

1972 to 1980
Leyland M. Cobb

1956 to 1972
Garrett J. Connolly

1954 to 1956
Elizabeth Richie (Executive Secretary)

Establishment of Schools

Independent institutions of higher education have a long, rich history of service in New Jersey. Following are our schools, listed in chronological order:

Princeton University
Founded 1746

Seton Hall University
Founded 1856

Rider University
Founded 1865

Drew University
Founded 1866

Centenary University
Founded 1867

Stevens Institute of Technology
Founded 1870

Saint Peter’s University
Founded 1872

College of Saint Elizabeth
Founded 1899

Georgian Court University
Founded 1902


Monmouth University
Founded 1933

Caldwell University
Founded 1939

Fairleigh Dickinson University
Founded 1942

Felician University
Founded 1942




The New Jersey College Fund Association, Inc. is founded for the purpose of enlisting financial support to provide the advancement of liberal arts and sciences education.


The New Jersey College Fund Association raises $25,510 from 19 donors in support of its nine original member institutions. The fund eventually expands to a total of 16 members by 1979 to include every independent college and university in New Jersey. With the closing of Upsala College in 1995 and the merger of the Westminster Choir College with Rider University in 1992, the Fund achieves its present membership of 14.


Public Service Electric and Gas Company contributes a gift of $7,500 to the New Jersey College Fund Association.


The Chase Manhattan Bank Foundation grants $8,930 to the New Jersey College Fund Association.



An $11,000 gift from the United States Steel Foundation to the New Jersey College Fund Association boosts the total received from 186 corporations to $202,000. The grant is presented to former New Jersey Governor Alfred E. Driscoll, who served as chairman of the New Jersey College Fund Association’s Business Industry Committee.


The Schering Foundation doubles its usual annual gift on the condition that a number of other corporations double their gifts. This is the first recorded “challenge grant” to the New Jersey College Fund Association.


The Western Electric Kearnygram reports in December, “Garret J. Connolly, Executive Director of the New Jersey College Fund Association, receives the Western Electric Fund’s $1,500 gift to the Association’s 12 member colleges. Maurice W. Brady, Superintendent of Personnel and Public Relations, presented the check on October 29, marking the company’s fifth annual contribution to the education group.


The March 19th edition of The Star-Ledger features a story on a $15,000 gift from Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. to the New Jersey College Fund Association in support of its 12 member colleges and universities.



This year sees the creation of a sophisticated eight-minute audiovisual presentation financed by grants from the Fund for New Jersey – the first support of this type.


NJCFA receives a $10,000 award from the International Business Machines Corporation for the improved performance of the Fund in 1976.

Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. gives NJCFA its first gift at the $100,000 level.

C.I.T. Financial Corporation sponsors a conference on behalf of the New Jersey College Fund Association on the topic, “The Role of the Trustees in the Future of Independent Higher Education in New Jersey.”


Total contributions surpass the $1 million mark for the first time.

A committee composed mostly of outside experts examines the Association’s advertising and public relations posture and concludes that the New Jersey College Fund Association, Inc. should more properly be known as the Independent College Fund of New Jersey.



Full page advertisements, underwritten by Beneficial Management Corporation, Carteret Savings and Loan, Merck & Company, Public Service Electric and Gas, United Jersey Banks and Schering-Plough Foundation, informing the business community of the importance of independent higher education, are placed in publications such as Newsweek, Time, and New Jersey Monthly. The Outdoor Advertising Association of New Jersey donates 100 billboard spaces throughout the state.

A challenge grant from the Exxon Education Foundation helps to broaden the base of ICFNJ’s corporate support by matching new gifts of $500 to $5,000. Twenty-five qualifying grants are received and the Exxon grant provides $21,013 in matching funds.



For the first time, ICFNJ benefits from the Annual Meadowlands Kickoff Classic. Over the next 18 years, the event raises over a half million dollars in support of private higher education in the State of New Jersey.

ICFNJ receives its first single gift in excess of $100,000. In December of that year, the AT&T Foundation contributes $115,000 in support of a program to strengthen undergraduate basic science education. The following year, AT&T establishes the AT&T Faculty Development Grants with a gift of $100,000.



In the spring of 1990, the AT&T Foundation makes the largest contribution in the 37-year history of ICFNJ by awarding its member institutions a $225,000 challenge grant to enhance undergraduate science programs. When the colleges and universities complete the challenge in 1991, the AT&T Foundation contributes another $230,000.


Scholarship programs continue to grow as ICFNJ distributes more than $54,000 in awards to students at its member institutions.


This year marks the final year of a $25,000 Challenge Grant established by Hoffman-La Roche Inc. During the five years of the Challenge Grant, ICFNJ adds 110 new and restored donors to the donor base and receives $619,000 in contributions.


ICFNJ breaks all prior records, achieving total support in excess of $2.85 million – the highest total annual campaign to date.



The Coca-Cola Foundation partners with ICFNJ to establish the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship. The program awards more than $300,000 over a four-year period to support one student at each of ICFNJ’s 14 member institutions. Students were the first in their family to attend college.


The Roche Foundation, a longtime ICFNJ partner, contributes a half million dollars to establish the September 11th Victim Assistance Post-Secondary Education Fund. The program, administered by ICFNJ, distributes $528,180 to 63 New Jersey residents whose families were affected by terrorist attacks on the United States.


In June, ICFNJ and its sister organization, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey, present the report by the Commission on the Future of Independent Higher Education, “Serving a Public Purpose,” to Governor James E. McGreevey. The Commission is chaired by Robert E. Campbell, Chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report is made possible through the support of the Fund for New Jersey, Schering-Plough Foundation, Inc., Fleet Bank, The Sallie Mae Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, and The UPS National Venture Fund of the Foundation for Independent Higher Education.

With the assistance of a grant from The Hyde and Watson Foundation, ICFNJ launches www.njcolleges.org. The website profiles the work of ICFNJ to a broad audience and serves as a resource for donors, trustees and member institutions.

ICFNJ hosts the First Annual Golf Outing, raising $16,000.


BD, long recognized for its efforts in helping people lead healthy lives, introduces the BD Higher Education and Leadership Training for Healthcare (HEALTH) Program. The BD HEALTH Program encourages student achievement and faculty leadership and commitment in the area of healthcare, especially as it relates to the fields of applied science, healthcare management, public health policy and nursing.


ICFNJ receives a $50,000 grant from the FIHE/UPS National Venture Fund in support of the New Jersey Higher Education Environmental Compliance Project. Through this project, nine of the State’s colleges and universities work together to fulfill their commitment to meeting Environmental Protection Agency standards, while building their capacity for maintaining environmental compliance. By project completion, a total of $4.6 million in fines is abated.

Pfizer introduces the Pfizer Undergraduate Research Endeavors (PURE) Science Project, which helps meet the labor needs of the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry by addressing the issue of qualifications and availability of existing and potential workers.


ICFNJ and its sister organization, The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey (AICUNJ), presents Senators Joseph V. Doria, Jr. and Robert E. Littell with the first Loughran Award for Education Advocacy at the Annual Spring Dinner. The award honors the memory of Rev. James N. Loughran, S.J., former president of Saint Peter’s College, by recognizing those who have made significant contributions to advancing higher education in New Jersey.



First Opportunity Career Fair is underwritten by a $25,000 matching grant from the FIHE/UPS National Venture Fund and matched by Capital One Bank, Elizabethtown Gas, iNG, Investors Bank and Provident Bank Foundation. It offers more than 150 first generation, new American and underserved students a face-to-face engagement with 42 potential employers.


ICFNJ revisee its mission statement to better depict the values and role of the Fund:

The Independent College Fund of new Jersey empowers deserving students to realize their goals by strengthening New Jersey’s independent colleges and universities with support for strategic investments in programs, scholarships and education. The Independent College Fund of New Jersey partners with the corporate and philanthropic communities to support its 14 member institutions.

ICFNJ celebrates the generosity of nine of its corporate donors, each of whom had exceeded $1 million in support and whose combined giving totaled over $27 million – BD, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Prudential, PSEG, Roche, UPS and Verizon.


IBM offeres a full-day professional workshop, Social Media Strategy & Planning, for board and staff members to assist the Communications Committee in developing a roadmap to social media success. IBM trained presenters took participants through a series of exercises and produced a final report with SMART goals to drive social media activities.


Fueling the Talent Pipeline — an Independent Colleges of New Jersey Raising the Bar program — brings career services, academic deans, faculty and college professionals together with industry representatives to build partnerships that address the gap between college education and career readiness.  Accenture provides the matching funds for a CIC Venture Funds grant.

A second branding campaign is prepared with support from Investors Bank, Pennoni and Strategic Development Group, The Imagination Company. The support for the creative was provided by the Council of Independent Colleges. The campaign is currently airing during primetime on NJTV.



Merger of AICUNJ and ICFNJ completed in July 2021. Under new Bylaws the Board of Trustees is reorganized to include each member institution president and four industry representatives drawn from the new formed Board of Advisors.

Talent Pipeline Committee created with business and campus representatives working together to strengthen experiential learning opportunities offered through internships, micro-internships, mentorships and shadowing.


The ICUNJ Presidents’ Annual Networking Reception is introduced to bring industry leaders and service providers together with campus decision makers. The event promotes briding the gap between industry and higher education.