Alumnus Benefits SoE Students with Scarlet Promise Grant

Michael Inglese, who earned his BS in mechanical and aerospace engineering in 1983, and his MBA in 1988 from Rutgers, is an accomplished senior executive with more than 30 years of achievement in the commercial leasing, industrial, and consumer business industries, providing senior financial leadership for both start-up and established firms.

Today, he is the chief executive officer and member of the board of directors of Aircastle Limited, a major passenger aircraft leasing company that owns and manages 269 aircraft for 80 lessees in 45 countries. As a 2019 alumni achievement honoree, he received the School of Engineering’s Medal of Excellence Award, in recognition of his outstanding record of innovation and business leadership.

Inglese’s generous $25,000 gif to the university’s Scarlet Promise Grant program was prompted, in part, when SOE dean Thomas Farris and assistant dean of development Annie Nienaber reached out to him and reconnected him with his alma mater. “I was honored to receive the Medal of Excellence and spend a day on campus. It was great to go back to the college where I’d been 40 years ago as a first-generation college student.”

He spent a day on campus and visited some classes, including an aerospace engineering class, where he talked about his company and what it means to be an engineering student. “As an engineering student, there are so many things you can do. Your education can be used in so many different fields and businesses.” 

Inglese is quick to acknowledge that Rutgers engineering, with its emphasis on an analytical approach to problem solving, taught him how to learn. “ What do I know or not know and how can I translate that into solving problems is what I tried to convey to the kids at that time.”

His determination to help current and future students enjoy the benefits of a Rutgers engineering education was further sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. “COVID is the worst thing to happen in the history of aviation. For the last year, the whole aviation industry has been struggling,” he explains. “I’m still a fortunate person. I thought it was a good time to think about people’s ability to stay in school. It’s an honor to be able to be able to give back and give others a chance – and help students to do what I was able to do.”

Scarlet Promise Grants, a university-wide financial aid and emergency support program for Rutgers undergraduates, gives relief to thousands of students each year. University president Jonathan Holloway gave the critical program a boost on his very first day in office in July 2020, when he announced a campaign to raise $10 million for the grants. At the time, he called it “the best vehicle we have to address the needs of our most economically at-risk students.” To learn more about how you can support Scarlet Promise Grants for Engineering Students, contact Annie Nienaber,, or visit SOE Giving.