In September 2023, Greg DiLalo (CC’77; GSNB’79) celebrates 50 consecutive years on the George H. Cook Campus, a journey that matches the lifespan of Cook College itself.
A member of the first class of Cook College students to matriculate in 1973, Greg’s unbroken connection to the beloved Cook campus covers four years of college, two years of graduate school, stints as a non-tenure track instructor and IT staff, and since 1991, director of information technology for the school and New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
In his current role, Greg serves as the chief technical advisor to the school’s Executive Dean and the Dean’s leadership team, and has the unenviable task of ensuring that the IT infrastructure at the school and experiment station functions properly.
Greg recalls that his journey to Rutgers and Cook College started in 1972 when his mother read aloud a newspaper article in the then Daily Home News (Home News Tribune today) that Rutgers “was starting a new liberal arts college focusing on mankind and the environment to be called Cook College. Early decision applications were going to be considered at that time.”
He submitted an application and a couple of months later, he received an acceptance letter in the mail before he had even applied elsewhere.
“In my senior year at Cook, my faculty advisor, Dr. A. Robert Koch, invited me to apply to graduate school, which I did. Upon completion of my master’s degree in Food and Business Economics in 1979, Dean Grant Walton offered me a non-tenure track faculty instructor position that very year, which later evolved into an information technology staff position.”
Greg’s already strong 50-year connection to Cook College and Rutgers pales in comparison with the 107-year connection to Rutgers that he recounts with pride.
“My grandfather, Louis DiLalo was a recent immigrant living in Tarrytown, New York, when he heard that the New Brunswick Theological Seminary and Rutgers College (the two were intertwined at the time) was hiring in New Brunswick.”
In 1916, Greg’s grandfather accepted a position as a landscaper/gardener at the seminary and Rutgers College, and moved his family to the sixth ward of New Brunswick.
He recounts that in the early 1920s, Rutgers President Demarest disentangled the seminary and the college, creating separate entities. “Before my grandfather retired, my father’s next older brother, Alfred, worked for Dr. Wright (Wright Chemistry Building namesake) in the 1940s and 1950s on Bishop Place, then moved to caring for President Mason Gross’s home across the river in 1960.”
“I would help my Uncle sometimes care for Dr. Gross’s two beagles at the President’s residence and we would often walk down to watch the football games in the nearby stadium.”
Although Greg would be the first in his family to graduate from college, Rutgers had already long been an important part of his family. In Greg’s own immediate family, that tradition was continued with his eldest son, Greg Jr., graduating from the School of Arts and Sciences, his daughter, Christa, from Cook College, and his youngest son, Michael, from the School of Engineering.
“My son Michael now works at Rutgers as a fourth-generation employee. Ironically, my daughter Christa was a member of the last Cook College graduating class and I was part of the first. My sister Diane graduated from Douglass College and married Jeffrey Holtaway, also a Cook College graduate. Both of their children graduated from Rutgers. And my wife, Terriann, is an administrative assistant here in the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory.”
Greg has always displayed a strong school spirt, attending Rutgers sporting events (he’s a season ticket holder) and always willing to assist with alumni events. A loyal and dedicated alumnus, he was recognized by the Cook Community Alumni Association (CCAA) in 2017 with the Dennis M. Fenton Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award. Named for corporate executive and businessman Dennis M. Fenton, who is a strong supporter of graduate education at the school and university, the award is the highest honor presented by the CCAA to advanced degree alumni in recognition of their career accomplishments, community service and leadership.
Congratulations to Greg and the more that 100-year history of the DiLalo family’s Rutgers pride!