St. Francis College presented one of its most successful alumni, Barbara G. Koster '76 (Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Prudential Financial) with an honorary degree and the creation of a scholarship in her name at the Colleges 51st Annual Charter Award Dinner, at the New York Marriott Marquis on Wednesday, April 25. (Watch the Charter Award Dinner)
Donors at the Dinner contributed more than half a million dollars for the College, with part of that going to help fund the new Barbara G. Koster '76 Scholarship.
CNN Correspondent Mary Snow hosted the event, but many in attendance know her as Mary Catherine Snow from the days when she used to babysit the children of Mary Macchiarola and St. Francis Chancellor Frank J. Macchiarola '62.
With friends and family in the audience, Koster was introduced by her mentor at Prudential, Robert Charles Golden. Golden told about Mrs. Koster's business successes, like creating Pramerica Systems Ireland, Ltd, a subsidiary in Ireland that grew from 35 employees to 1,000 and how she saved Prudential Systems Japan, Ltd tens of millions of dollars by no longer out-sourcing specific work. He also talked about programs she set up in Newark that help inner-city high school students go to college while training them to become Prudential employees, as well as a job program for returning veterans and young men and women with Asperger's syndrome.
Koster's daughters Katie and Diana spoke with pride about their mother who more than met the challenge of being one of the few women in a male dominated workplace.
To insure that other women will follow in her footsteps, Koster previously helped fully fund a Women's Scholarship at St. Francis
In her address at the dinner, Mrs. Koster thanked all the people who helped get her to where she is today, from Bro. George Larkin, O.S.F. '60 who arranged for a scholarship and work study allowing her to afford to attend St. Francis; to Bro. John Hoffschmidt, O.S.F. who arranged her first job interviews; to her professors who prepared her for the rigors of a very demanding career.
"St. Francis taught me well to look for and leverage the strengths of each and every individual that crosses our path," said Koster. "It is this culture of sharing, supporting and giving that is the reason I am standing here today."
Koster graduated from St. Francis with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration and an Associate's Degree in Computer Technology and is a member and past chair of ACORD (a standards body for the life insurance industry). Koster is also a member of Executive Women in NJ and Research Board, an international think tank.
She joined Prudential in November 1995 as vice president and chief information officer in Individual Life Insurance Systems. At Chase she held several positions, including president of Chase Access Services.
In addition to her roles as Senior Vice President and CIO, Koster is also the head of Global Business and Technology Solutions and a member of Prudential's Senior Management Committee. She has oversight responsibility for information technology at all Prudential locations worldwide and ensures the privacy and integrity of Prudential's information.
"We are honored to have someone of Barbara's stature help in our efforts to raise money for scholarships," said President Brendan J. Dugan '68. "She sets an amazing example for our current students and alumni; showing how important it is to not just give back but to be an active and contributing part of the community."
The Charter Award Dinner began in 1962 by the St. Francis Board of Trustees to commemorate New York State granting the College a charter and the right to confer diplomas, honors and degrees. For 51 years, the Charter Award Dinner has been the College's premier fundraising event and has raised millions of dollars to support scholarships programs and further the educational mission at St. Francis.
St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201