Editor’s note: The previous headline and information within the article indicated that Rowan SOM was to be renamed Rita & Larry Salva School of Nursing & Health Professions. This is incorrect. Rowan SOM is not changing its name, rather; the Rowan-Virtua School of Nursing & Health Professions is to be renamed after Rita and Larry Salva.
On Sept. 7, students and guests came together in Pfleeger Concert Hall for the annual White Coat Ceremony. During the event, Rowan University President Ali Houshmand made the announcement that the Rowan-Virtua School of Nursing & Health Professions will be renamed to the Rita & Larry Salva School of Nursing & Health Professions.
“For more than two decades, Larry Salva and his wife, Rita Salva, have been among Rowan University’s most generous benefactors,” Dr. Houshmand said during the announcement. “Tonight, in recognition for all that Rita and Larry have done, and continue to do, for Rowan University and its students, I am honored to announce that the Rowan University Board of Trustees has approved the renaming of your school as the Rita & Larry Salva School of Nursing & Health Professions.”
Larry Salva is a 1977 alumnus and a current member of the Board of Trustees. Salva learned about the name change back in the spring. When Salva heard the news, he said he felt esteemed and was surprised.
“We’re honored to have any school of Rowan named after us, but especially a school that’s focused on medical education. Health professionals are kind of in short supply right now in the United States. And medicine is changing pretty significantly, where the shortage of doctors really points out the increased need for physicians, assistants, and nurses. So, to have the nursing school named after us is a great honor,” said Salva.
Salva retired as Executive Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer of Comcast Corporation. Larry is a CPA in Pennsylvania and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and Financial Executives International.
He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation. He led the company’s Disclosure and Enterprise Risk Management committees and served on the Compliance and Employee Benefits Investment committees.
Salva stated that people who go to medical school for primary care end up not becoming primary care doctors and make the least amount of money of any doctor.
“So, all the specialties like anesthesiologists, or OBGYNs, or orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, those specialties make more money than a general practitioner. Well, the primary care doctor like kind of the first line of defense, if you will. In a way, I think that the primary care doctor has a tougher job because they’re the frontline. They’re trying to figure out what might be the problem with the patient, and they end up referring them to the specialist and the specialist kind of has the easy job,” said Salva.
The Salvas have donated and started many funds in the past. In March 2012, the Salva family pledged $1.05 million to the Foundation to establish the Lawerence & Rita Salva Medical Scholars Fund. At Seton Hall University — where Rita Salva earned her graduate degree — the Salvas have the Rita and Lawrence Salva Endowed Fellowship Fund. They support food kitchens in Camden, Philadelphia, and Trenton.
“Unfortunately, you know, our resources are not unlimited, so we couldn’t create an endowment so large that it could give a free ride to somebody to go to medical school. But it certainly should help to defray that cost. And, you know, through other sources, other funding sources, hopefully, somebody can keep down their student debt or avoid student debt completely,” said Salva.
After graduating from Rowan, Salva quickly got involved with the alumni association, where he would be treasurer of the organization for a number of years. Salva couldn’t be a part of the Rowan University Foundation because he was working with Coopers & Lybrand, who were the auditors for the university.
When Rowan changed auditors from Coopers & Lybrand to KPMG, a network of professional firms that provide audit, tax, and advisory services, Phil Tumminia, who is now retired and the former executive director of the foundation, asked Salva to become involved with the foundation. Being able to see a lot of the changes at Rowan, Salva attributes them to Houshmand.
“You know, a lot of the development and the growth I kind of attribute to the vision of Ali Houshmand as the president. I mean, he is such an entrepreneurial-thinking person. He’s kind of looking forward towards what education really needs to be in the 21st century,” said Salva.
Salva looks at the student’s success when looking at what makes Rowan special.
“I think it’s the focus on student success. I mean Ali has a very interesting approach to this, he kind of views all the students there almost like they’re his children, he cares about their success and about their health and wellbeing, their safety,” said Salva. “The more education you can get or the more access to education you can get to people, the more they can improve their lives and the lives of their families and friends around them.”