So soon after mourning Walter Savage, I am very sad to announce the passing of another pivotal figure in FDU’s history.
FDU Trustee Emeritus Henry P. Becton, Sr., died on October 25 at his home in Blue Hill, Maine, at the age of 95. “Hank,” as he was known by his colleagues and friends, devoted his professional life to the development of BD, the company founded by his father, Maxwell W. Becton, and Col. Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Sr.
Of course, the Becton and Dickinson families were also the first benefactors and incorporators of Fairleigh Dickinson when we were founded in 1942. Mr. Becton served as a trustee of the University for 46 years, acting as chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee and vice chairman of the board. In 1983, he was awarded an honorary FDU doctor of laws degree. When he retired from the board in 1994, he was elected trustee emeritus “in recognition of his significant accomplishments, his keen insight and his extensive concern for the University.” In 1995, BD donated $1 million to the School of Nursing, which was named in his honor.
At BD, Mr. Becton served as executive vice president, chairman of the executive committee of the board of directors and chairman of the board during the years of the company’s greatest growth and expansion. During his tenure, BD grew from 600 associates and sales of $2.5 million to 29,000 associates and more than $7 billion in annual sales. He retired in 1987 and in recent years had been a very active director emeritus.
A singer, a sailor and a pilot, he was active in many civic, community and business organizations. He was a borough councilman in Rutherford, director of the Bergen County Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, president of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and one of the founders of the New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts. He was also a longtime director of National Community Bank (now Bank of New York/Mellon).
He is survived by five children, 14 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Private services were held in Maine.
I had the great pleasure to meet Mr. Becton on several occasions. He was warm, welcoming and proud to declare that his accomplishments at FDU were among his most important achievements. We cannot thank him enough for all that he did, and we will forever cherish the contributions he and his family made to the establishment and success of Fairleigh Dickinson University.