Norm Brodsky College of Business Hall of Fame – Vincent Milano ’85

[Music] I’m the CEO of Idera Pharmaceuticals. Idera is a pharmaceutical/biotech company
focused on developing and discovering compounds drugs for both rare diseases and rare cancer
indications. [Music] What I’m incredibly motivated by is trying
to make patients who don’t have alternatives, have alternatives. And provide that opportunity for them to live
a normal life. That’s really incredibly powerful to me. [Office chatter] Since I graduated from Rider in 1985, I’ve
had three jobs in my professional life. I started out in public accounting with KPMG,
spent about ten years there. Went to become the CFO of ViroPharma Inc., which was an early
stage bio-technology company. I became CEO for the last six years before
the company was sold to Shire Pharmaceuticals and for the last three and a half years, I’ve
been with Idera Pharmaceuticals. I look back on my career, it’s having great
mentors and having those moments where some profound things happen that you may not understand
or appreciate at the time and they came back and turned into wonderful opportunities for
me. I chose to go to Rider – and it was Rider
College when I was there because it was a school in New Jersey and it was relatively
close to home. I wanted to go and study accounting at one
of the best business schools. Where I see the connection between my days
at Rider and my professional career in accounting and what I do now is that you have to solve
problems, you have to work with people, you have to be discerning. All of those things are critical to assess
factors, which is why I’m able to use those skills to my job as CEO. Giving back to young people is important. I’ve had the privilege of going back to go talk
to students that are in the business school, share my journey, share my story with the
hope of giving kids a vision for what’s possible for them and career paths from an adult who’s
not your parent, frankly. One of my fondest memories of Rider was when
Jerry Garcia came to Rider. Back in the old alumni gym, well before the
Starbucks was on campus, I was like two rows away from Jerry Garcia and being a huge fan of
the Grateful Dead that was a very big deal for me back then. I have great and fond memories of my days
at Rider. Al Sumutka who’s by far one of the most dynamic
teachers I’ve ever met and I still imagine seeing his hands waving, teaching me about
auditing, which I took forward in my career when I went in to KPMG. He was a great teacher for me. I would like to offer my congratulations to
Vin. As a professor, it is always wonderful to
see a former student succeed and this honor is so well deserved by Vin. It’s pretty obvious that he enjoys meeting
with and mentoring our students. Vin would always tell the students that he
was nothing but an average student at Rider. I went back to my records from the fall of
1984 – that’s what I have right here. Principals of Auditing, Section C – Vincent
Milano. He had the fourth highest ranking among 34
students. I did not consider Vin to be an average student.
I think he is really understating how he approached education and what he achieved at Rider. The number one reason I’m grateful to Rider
is that’s where I met my wife, Christie and she’s the mother of my beautiful children
and I’m also grateful because I think the things that I learned there, the ability to
solve problems, think through critical issues, professors challenged me to be the best that
I could be, they gave me a chance to let me be who I was. I believe Rider is an outstanding academic
institution that’s helped me be successful in my career and I didn’t have to go to an
Ivy League school to be able to garner that. [Music]

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