Michael A. Ferrigno, a 1966 graduate of Saint Mary's College who was associated with the Christian Brothers institution for four decades, died February 28 at his Walnut Creek home. Ferrigno was 60.
Ferrigno is credited with enhancing the college's fund raising and alumni relations strategies and capabilities while broadening its ties to individual and institutional supporters. During his 29-year career, he was executive director for alumni affairs, director of development, vice president for advancement and campus planning, and vice president for planning and facilities. He retired in 2003.
Under Ferrigno's guidance, the College concluded a highly successful capital campaign, raising $52 million three years ahead of schedule. In addition, he improved the College's corporate and foundation fund-raising efforts and was instrumental in establishing a new planned giving program. He was actively involved in the formative years of the President's Club, of which he and his wife, Barbara, are members. Under Ferrigno, the club doubled in size from 200 to 400. In his last two years as vice president for planning and facilities, he spearheaded significant upgrades in campus student housing and information technology resources, as well as laying the groundwork for future growth.
Ferrigno was hired in 1974 by Brother Jerome West, FSC, and their friendship produced significant benefits for the Catholic, liberal arts institution, said Brother Mel Anderson, FSC, former president of Saint Mary's College.
"Mike's leadership was key to our successes in fundraising," recalled Brother Mel. "He and Brother Jerome were crucial to the positive outcome of the mid-1980's campaign. Mike was very intimately involved, and his organizing skills were important. And the campaign was successful largely due to Brother Jerome's personality and Mike's organizational ability."
Ferrigno was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the College, and he attributed much of his success to the influence of his mentor, Brother Albert Rahill, FSC. Ferrigno built and nurtured important relationships throughout the Saint Mary's community, especially its Trustees, Regents and other friends of the College. He developed a reputation for integrity and professionalism, which led to his being named an honorary Regent in 2002 and the recipient of the Alumni Association's prestigious Signum Fidei award (presented annually to distinguished alumni) in 2003. He was described in a citation as "highly respected by the members of both the Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees as a man of principle in word and deed, a gentleman in his dealings with people, and one who always makes himself available to anyone in need of his assistance."
Mike Ferrigno was born on July 15, 1944, in San Francisco. He attended San Francisco's Archbishop Riordan High School, graduating in 1962. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Saint Mary's, he earned an MA in English from the University of Dayton. Ferrigno did additional post-graduate studies at St. Louis University. Ferrigno is survived by his wife Barbara; siblings Larry Ferrigno '69 and Pat Ferrigno Loew; sister-in-law Diane Ferrigno and brother-in-law Bill Loew; nieces Karen Ferrigno Clyne'98 and husband Brett Clyne '95, Lisa Ferrigno, and Shelley Loew Jones and husband Jordan Jones; nephew Bill Loew and wife Carol Loew; as well as other grandnieces and grandnephews.
Donations in memory of Mike Ferrigno may be made to the American Cancer Society, the John Muir Hospital Foundation, the American Heart Association, or other charities.
-- Joseph Wakelee-Lynch
Office of College Communications