Alumnus Trustee Pays It Forward: ‘Widener Will Be There in Your Moment of Need’
Ask for help if you find yourself in a tough financial spot.
That’s the lesson Trustee Domenic Colasante ‘10 learned as an undergrad at Widener – and now wants to impart on the next generation of students.
“Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help,” Colasante said. “There is a tremendous amount of people at the university who care and will spring into action. Widener will be there in your moment of need.”
Widener is known for its dedication to student success, from providing academic advising and career development to caring about the physical and mental well-being of each student. The same level of attention extends to students’ financial needs.
The university’s financial support changed the trajectory of Colasante’s life, allowing him to graduate in three years and go on to co-found a successful international marketing company, where he now serves as CEO at age 32.
Looking for a Bridge
Over a decade ago, Colasante (then named Domenic Corsey) was in his second year studying management with a marketing specialty at Widener, when his family’s financial picture suddenly changed. The financial aid he relied on dried up, leaving him scrambling to pay half his tuition.
“I was thinking ‘maybe I’ll take a year off and go back to work,’” he said, adding that he worked as a restaurant waiter at the time.
Instead, Colasante asked for help from a School of Business Administration faculty member and was referred to Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management Tom Malloy, a key ally for students like Colasante.
“I wasn’t looking for a handout,” Colasante said. “I was looking for a bridge.”
Malloy tapped into the university’s emergency fund to help Colasante stay enrolled.
“In that moment of craziness, he took the stress out of the situation,” Colasante recalled. “Come the second half of sophomore year, I had an education I could afford again.”
Malloy understands that college is one of the most important investments a person can make, but that life circumstances can sometimes get in the way of paying for it.
"Domenic is absolutely right that you have to ask for help. We are here to find different avenues to help make your Widener education manageable and affordable," said Malloy.
Colasante said the generosity shown by Malloy and the university was the catalyst for his future.
“Amazing things happened to me because of that Widener education,” he said.
A Tradition of Giving
He graduated in 2010 and married his fellow business school classmate, Xena Colasante. He took a position at SAP, a worldwide leader of enterprise application software and a close partner of the university.
Colasante’s career continued to grow, and in 2017, he co-founded 2X, a pioneer in B2B-focused marketing. The company employs over 150 people with offices outside Philadelphia and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
He joined the Widener Board of Trustees in 2019, and now is paying it forward by starting the Colasante Emergency Fund to support students in danger of dropping out due to financial hardships. Students will soon be awarded based on need.
The newest fund continues a long tradition of Widener alumni supporting students. Last year, at the start of the pandemic, the university opened a Widener Student Emergency Fund to provide immediate assistance to students suffering from job losses and other difficult circumstances.
“Trustee Domenic Colasante and other Widener alumni are some of our most generous supporters,” said Vice President for University Advancement Terry Travis. “They have seen firsthand the value of a Widener education, and now want to share their resources so that current students can thrive with the same level of support they once received from the university.”
Colasante said that level of support can be lifesaving in a moment of need.
“All you have to do is ask,” he repeated.