Boutell/FirstMerit Bank Executive in Residence,
Saginaw Valley State University
Gold may be the traditional gift for a 50th wedding anniversary, but Dom and Pam Monastiere decided to turn their 50th into a golden opportunity to make a difference in the lives of college students.
High school sweethearts at Grosse Pointe High School, Dom and Pam married on June 21, 1968.
After college, Dom started his banking career at the National Bank of Detroit in downtown Detroit, where Pam was already employed. As he advanced in his banking career, the family moved to the Great Lakes Bay Region, and Pam gave up her career to be a stay-at-home mom and active community volunteer.
"Pam became the consummate bank president’s wife," recalls Dom, "active in public service and volunteering. She made my job possible."
Dom was also active in community service, and SVSU was a beneficiary of his expertise. Dom was one of original sponsors of the Stevens Center for Family Business and helped create the College of Business & Management Advisory Board, later joining the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors.
When Dom retired in 2013, Eric Gilbertson, then president of SVSU, seized the opportunity to expand Dom’s involvement with the University, appointing him the Boutell/First Merit Bank Executive in Residence at SVSU. In this role, Dom not only teaches, he connects SVSU students with local businesses, opening doors to opportunity.
Both Dom and Pam recognize the importance of education, which led them to establish two scholarships: the Pamela G. Monastiere Scholarship Fund at the Bay Area Community Foundation and the Dominic Monastiere Scholarship Fund with the SVSU Foundation.
In June 2018, the couple hosted a 50th anniversary celebration, with a "no gifts" request.
The couple realized, however, that everyone in their families had been raised with the dictum, “You never go to a party without bringing a gift.” So they added a statement to the invitation:
"However, should you want to share in Pam’s and Dom's philanthropy, you can make a contribution to either the Pamela G. Monastiere Scholarship Fund at the Bay Area Community Foundation or the Dominic Monastiere Scholarship Fund at SVSU."
"Our guests really appreciated the suggestion," Dom says. "We repeatedly heard, 'Thank you for giving us guidance for your gift. We didn’t know what to give to you and we weren't going to pay attention to the "no gifts" request.'"
In honor of Pam and Dom, their family and friends contributed more than $4,675 to the two scholarships. The Monastieres hope others will remember and follow their example sometime in the future.
"We're very grateful for that additional scholarship support," Dom says. "We've always valued education, but until you teach, you don't really understand how much you're touching people's lives. We feel very fortunate that we're able to provide some assistance to students."