UConn alumnus and benefactor Ray Neag dies at age 86


The Neag School of Education was named after benefactor Raymond Neag, who passed away on Thursday. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The Neag School of Education was named after benefactor Raymond Neag, who passed away on Thursday. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

University of Connecticut alumnus and greatest benefactor Raymond Neag, 86, died in his home while surrounded by his family on Thursday, according to his obituary

Neag, a resident of Goshen, Conn. graduated from UConn in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in political science following his service in the United States Air Force. Neag returned to UConn in 1999 with a $27 million gift to the university, which remains the largest single donation to the school, according to UConn Today

Neag serves as the namesake for UConn’s School of Education following a donation he made with the goal to “make a difference in the lives of thousands of schoolchildren in Connecticut and the nation,” according to the Neag School of Education’s website.

Aside from the School of Education, Neag and his wife Carole also made significant contributions to the UConn Health Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, according to UConn Today. 

UConn President Susan Herbst said Neag should be remembered as a staunch advocate for the students of UConn and the generous leader of alumni donations to the university.  

“Ray Neag had a profound impact on the University of Connecticut and our entire state. With his first record-breaking gift to the Neag School of Education to his generous support for life-saving care at the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Calhoun Cardiology Center and many other programs, he played an incredibly important role in our history,” Herbst said. “He keenly understood UConn’s potential to be a top public research university and academic medical center, and how to build the momentum to get there. Ray was a visionary who advocated tirelessly on UConn’s behalf and inspired so many other alumni to follow his lead.”

Dean of the Neag School of Education Gladis Kersaint said without Neag’s generosity to the university, the School of Education would not be nearly as prosperous as it is today. 

“To say that Ray Neag has had a life-changing impact on many thousands of individuals is no exaggeration,” Kersaint said. “For one, UConn’s Neag School of Education would simply not be where it is today without the truly extraordinary support of Ray and Carole Neag. Ray, our longtime champion and hero, strongly believed in education as society’s ‘greatest equalizer.’”

According to UConn Today, Neag was one of the most influential contributors to the University of Connecticut and will remain a fixture of the community.

“Carole and Ray Neag are among the most prominent figures in UConn’s 138-year history, next to brothers Charles and Augustus Storrs, who donated the land and funding in 1880 to start the university,” according to UConn Today. “We are honored that Ray’s legacy will carry on here, where Ray and Carole’s support saves lives every day at UConn Health and graduates of the Neag School are teaching in nearly every school district across Connecticut and beyond.”

Neag is survived by his wife Carole, children Elizabeth and David and his many grandchildren. 

Andrew Miano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at andrew.miano@uconn.edu.

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