St. John’s University Names School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science in Honor of Maurice R. Greenberg

January 17, 2020

As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science Annual Insurance Leader of the Year Award Dinner, St. John’s University honored Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), C.V. Starr & Co. Inc., the Starr Insurance Companies, and The Starr Foundation, with a Lifetime Leadership Award. 

The Insurance Leader of the Year Award, presented annually from 1995 to 2018, recognizes the contributions of outstanding individuals whose leadership in the worldwide insurance and financial services industry sets them apart from their peers. This year, in celebration of the silver anniversary of this esteemed award, the Award Selection Committee selected Mr. Greenberg, whose lifetime achievements in the industry have been exceptional and far-reaching. Mr. Greenberg was recognized with the Lifetime Leadership Award for his continued commitment to the growth and development of insurance leaders and to transforming the global insurance industry.

The dinner, held at the New York Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, NY, attracted 1,300 attendees and raised $2.15 million in funds to support School of Risk Management student scholarships and programs. 

At the same event, upon the recommendation of the School of Risk Management Board of Overseers Executive Committee, Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President of St. John’s University, announced that the University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the ​​​​​​​School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science (SRM)—part of The Peter J. Tobin College of Business—as the Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science, effective January 15, 2020.

“Mr. Greenberg has dedicated his career to the insurance industry, to financial services, and to making a lasting difference in the lives of others through his leadership and philanthropy,” remarked President Gempesaw. “It is only fitting that Mr. Greenberg, who with distinction has transformed the insurance industry for current and future generations, will continue to have an impact on those who pursue their studies at the Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science.”

Mr. Greenberg is Chairman of Starr Companies, a global insurance and investment organization founded by Cornelius Vander Starr in 1919 in Shanghai, China. Mr. Greenberg retired as Chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG), a former Starr subsidiary, which became the first fully licensed foreign insurance company in China. Under his nearly 40 years of leadership, AIG grew from an initial market value of $300 million to $180 billion, becoming the largest insurance company in the world.

Mr. Greenberg is also Chairman of The Starr Foundation, a philanthropic organization that has grown to become one of the largest private foundations in the United States. The foundation has made more than $3.5 billion in grants worldwide to many academic, medical, cultural, and public policy organizations, including St. John’s University.

A video detailing the distinguished career of Mr. Greenberg was presented and a rapt audience watched as family members, global business leaders, and political leaders such as diplomat Henry Kissinger shared testimony and memories of how Mr. Greenberg changed the insurance industry and transformed global business relations.

In his brief acceptance remarks, Mr. Greenberg, who earlier in the day attended the White House ceremony for the U.S–China Phase One Trade Agreement, spoke of leadership lessons taught at SRM and the global nature of business and education.

The School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science was founded in 1901 as the Insurance Society of New York and over the years evolved into The College of Insurance (TCI). In June of 2001, TCI merged with St. John’s University, becoming a school within The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.

From its location at 101 Astor Place in Manhattan’s East Village, St. John’s awards undergraduate, M.B.A., and M.S. degrees in the insurance, risk management, and actuarial science disciplines. Through its ​​​​​​​ Tobin Center for Executive Education, the University also provides education, training, and consulting services to industry, governments, and regulators worldwide.

SRM is a global leader in risk and insurance education and training and draws candidates from many regions of the world. All of the degree programs offered by The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, and thus by SRM, are fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“St. John’s University is proud to have the continued support of Mr. Greenberg, a financial giant, global innovator, and generous philanthropist,” stated William J. Janetschek ’84CBA, ’17HON, Member and Chief Financial Officer (retired) at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., and Chair, Board of Trustees, at St. John’s University.

“Hank is a visionary leader, not only for creating opportunities for people, but also for having the foresight to prepare them to take advantage of those opportunities through education and experience,” stated Kevin H. Kelley, Vice Chairman (retired), Global Risk Solutions of Liberty Mutual Group, and Chairman of the SRM Board of Overseers. “He and other senior Starr partners have been deeply involved with the school since the earliest days of The College of Insurance.”

With the support of Mr. Greenberg and The Starr Foundation, St. John’s University has expanded academic programs, enhanced teaching and learning activities and industry-focused professional programs, and attracted the best and brightest students from around the globe to pursue academic studies and careers in the insurance industry.

“We are honored to have our School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science named after Mr. Greenberg, in recognition of his influence in the insurance industry and of his dedicated support for our students and faculty,” stated Norean R. Sharpe, Ph.D., Dean, Joseph H. and Maria C. Schwartz Distinguished Chair, and Professor of Decision Sciences, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.

“Without question, St. John’s University’s School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science would not be where it is today without Hank Greenberg’s decades-long support, at the College of Insurance and now at St. John’s. One cannot overvalue the significant impact of this staunch backing—through scholarship, internships, fellowships, and
career hires—on thousands of students. In the years to come, the University will continue to build upon the foundations Hank has helped so much to put into place,” declared Brandon W. Sweitzer, Dean of the Greenberg School of Risk Management.

Also in attendance, as guests of the University, were high school students interested in risk management, insurance, and actuarial science, and their parents. On hand to greet these prospective students at the gala event were current SRM students including Katherine Ross, a senior from Thomaston, CT.

Katherine, an Ozanam Scholar, is presently completing an internship at Swiss Re Group and already has secured a full-time job at the company upon her graduation. Describing the tight-knit student community and the personal attention received from SRM faculty, Katherine observed: “As these high school students learn all about the Greenberg School of Risk Management, I advise them to take advantage of every opportunity that St. John’s University has to offer because there are so many available.”