Salvatore Ferro’s old life stopped and new life began in November 1981. During his first semester at Farmingdale State College (FSC), Ferro’s father passed away when a drunk driver hit his car. With a widowed mother and three younger siblings at home -his older brother had also passed away in a car accident some years earlier- Ferro had to drop out to help take care of his family and work full time in construction.
But the following year, the call of college and higher education motivated him to re-enroll. It would be harder the second time around with a greater need for financial assistance. Fortunately, Farmingdale’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) was there for him, and he enrolled in the Business Administration program. “It was life-changing because...I went from quitting college to two years of being on the Dean’s List, the honor roll, president of the Business Club, and homecoming king.” And he managed to do all of that while continuing to work in construction on the weekends and selling clothing at night.
As a Business Administration student, he laid the groundwork for his future success. Today, he’s the president and CEO of Alure Home Improvements on Long Island where he continues to apply the lessons he learned at Farmingdale. He also supports local families, students, senior citizens, and veterans through a variety of charitable endeavors, including through the business; the Alure team has appeared on the popular TV show “Extreme Home Makeover” eight times. “It’s important to give back in the community that you work and live in,” Ferro noted. “If you can give back in the community and make a difference in a positive way, that’s success.”
In that spirit, Ferro donated $50,000 in 2021 to create The Ferro Family Scholarship, an endowed fund. “I’d like to provide an opportunity that each and every year can support a student in some way," explained Ferro. "The EOP helped provide funding I needed to go to school. I look back at that, and without all that, I wouldn’t be here today.”
The feeling of gratitude is mutual. “Sal is not only an exemplary alum, he is a remarkable citizen whose generosity has touched many people and places across Long Island. We're proud and grateful for his leadership and support with his most recent heartfelt gift,” FSC President John S. Nader said.
He also assists others through a private foundation he created, the Ferro Foundation, utilizing personal philanthropy with his wife Molly, and by serving on the FSC Foundation Board, thanks to an invitation from former Foundation Vice President Dr. Henry Sikorski who helped to re-engage Ferro in the life of the college. The two became friends, and Sikorski is now a member of the Ferro Foundation board. Over the years, Ferro has supported the College in other ways, including a $2,500 gift in 2019 to help students who can't afford textbooks.
“I give back to Farmingdale because they give back to me,” he explained. “Give” is a carefully-chosen, present-tense word. “I believe Farmingdale plays a huge role in the region,” Ferro continued. “It’s really playing an important role in giving Long Island a workforce.” He credits Past President W. Hubert Keen for elevating the school’s reputation and academics and adds, “Now, President John Nader is continuing that effort. We are so fortunate to have had these two gentlemen. They inspire me to want to do good things for Farmingdale State College.”
Ferro’s advice for the next generation of business leaders: “Read a lot. The difference in your education, your awareness, and your mind when you start reading is ridiculous. Reading changes everything. Not just books...I’m talking about things that will allow you to know what’s going on in the world. The more you know about what’s going on in the world, the more you understand what’s going on in the business world, and the more you’re ready to be part of it.”