Samuel N. Lombardo and his wife Dena both grew up in Lancaster County and have lived here their entire lives. They want to make a difference where they live and work and to that extent they have graciously given Millersville University of Pennsylvania a $1 million gift to help build a Net Zero Energy building on campus. The building will serve as the Welcome Center for the University, hosting thousands of prospective students and visitors each year.
Sam is a well-known insurance entrepreneur and is the chairman and CEO of the Lititz-based Benecon Group, which develops and administers self-funded health insurance products through the brokerage market in 15 states. His companies gained national recognition when they were listed four different times by Inc. Magazine as one of the “500 Fastest Growing Companies in America.”
“Sam and Dena are not only extraordinary friends of the University, but they have the foresight to see how their investment will impact thousands of people each year,” said Dr. John Anderson, president of Millersville University. “What a meaningful way to invest in a building that will provide educational opportunities for our University students as well as K-12 students about understanding the importance of sustainability and seeing it put into practice.”
“Having spent my early adult professional life in the Millersville area I became very familiar with the college,” said Sam Lombardo “And, I served on the Lancaster Symphony Board with Jerry Eckert [retired vice president of advancement at MU]. Jerry got me involved with Millersville during the renovations at McComsey Hall and the plans for the performing arts center. When John Anderson came on board, he told me about the new Net Zero Energy building coming into play and the whole idea of the welcoming center intrigued me. I’m flattered that our name will be on the building.”
The official name of the building will be the “Lombardo Welcome Center.”
“My companies have been very successful and we are financially blessed. I like giving back. We want to share our blessings,” said Lombardo.
In 2007, the University presented Sam with an honorary doctorate degree of letters. The Lombardos have been generous contributors to Millersville’s Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center and the renovation of McComsey Hall. Additionally, Sam and Dena Lombardo have been benefactors of other community programs involving children and education in the region; giving to The Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, Schreiber Pediatrics, the Clinic for Special Children and Franklin & Marshall College.
The goal of the Net Zero Energy Building is to produce as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. The $7.5 million, 15,000 square-foot building will incorporate solar panels, water conservation and renewable materials. It is scheduled to be ready by January 2017 and will be constructed near the new residence halls on the south side of campus. The building will showcase Millersville’s commitment to sustainability and will relocate the Welcome Center for prospective students to a more centralized location on campus. The new building will also house the admissions office, administrative offices and will feature a sustainability-focused educational atrium, which will annually host more than 10,000 visitors.