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Legal Counsel and Officer, Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation

Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Award

2016

Bio:

Eugene A. Gargaro Jr. ’67 is the definition of a community leader. He is known across metropolitan Detroit as a businessman and philanthropist.

Gargaro earned his J.D. in 1967 and went to work for Dykema, helping build it into Michigan’s largest law firm. He left after 26 years to join Masco Corp., where he served as vice president and secretary. He retired in 2008, but only to take on a different role as civic leader.

Gargaro turned his passion for art into a role on the Detroit Institute of Arts board, where he has served as chair since 2003. As chair, he spearheaded a $160-million renovation of the museum and led the successful regional millage campaign in 2012 in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties that provides solid funding for the art institute. In 2013 and 2014, he led a strategic initiative to successfully guide the DIA through the Detroit bankruptcy, achieved the DIA’s $100 million commitment to the Grand Bargain in ten months and secured the museum’s independent status.

Stabilizing the museum went a long way in helping the quality of life in metro Detroit, and helped bring into the city the investors working to create a new renaissance. For this work, Gargaro and his wife Mary Anne received the DIA’s Lifetime Service Awards for exemplary volunteer service in 2015.

He is a committed friend of UDM, where he has served on the Board of Trustees and as chair of the University Advancement sub-committee. Gargaro was a lead donor and fundraiser for the $8 million renovation of the law school in 2011.

His leadership extends to the state level. He is on the board of the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation, a major grant-giving institution in Michigan. He has served as chair of the independent public policy group Citizens Research Council of Michigan and as a regent at Georgetown University where he earned his undergraduate degree. In 2013, Gargaro’s lifetime of service and leadership was honored by Crain’s Detroit Business with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Citation:

Eugene A. Gargaro, Jr. is the embodiment of a valued community leader, known across metropolitan Detroit and the country as an attorney, businessman and philanthropist.

In 1967 he began a long career at Dykema, helping build it into Michigan’s largest law firm. He left to join Masco Corporation, where he served as vice president and secretary before turning his attention to philanthropy and the arts.

He has served as chair of the Board of the Detroit Institute of Arts since 2003 and spearheaded a major renovation of the museum and a successful millage campaign that led to a more secure funding base, thus stabilizing the institution. Through this position, he also helped forge the Grand Bargain that helped bring the DIA safely through Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and into a new era as an independent institution. He and his wife Mary Ann have been honored by the DIA with its Lifetime Service Award.

He has served on the UDM Board of Trustees since 1997 and was a lead donor and fundraiser for the $8 million renovation of the School of Law facilities. He serves on various public policy boards across the state and country, and his leadership and career were recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Distinguished graduate of the School of Law, Eugene A. Gargaro, Jr. was honored with the Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Award on April 24, 2016.

University of Detroit Mercy

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