Spring 2009 Issue
Neta Kolasa, PhD ’75
President, Kolasa Foundation
School of Social Work
More than 12 years ago Neta Kolasa lost her husband John. His death was sudden and unexpected. Instead of wallowing in her grief, Kolasa found strength in the church and reached out to help other widows and widowers.
“I have walked that path,” she said. “I know the agony and pain of losing the love of my life, so I find it gratifying to work with these people. It’s all about giving comfort and support. We do more listening than talking. To be with them, to walk that walk with them, to hold their hand, to pray together, to let them know we care.”
Kolasa has devoted her life to helping others. As a member of the Order of Malta, the oldest lay, religious order in the Roman Catholic Church, Kolasa made a commitment to serve the sick and the poor – a commitment which Kolasa tries to live daily by bringing the Eucharist to the suffering at Boca Raton Community Hospital.
Strong supporters of higher education, she and her late husband established the Kolasa Scholarship Fund, which offers financial assistance to deserving Barry graduate students. In addition, their namesake, the dormitory Kolasa Hall, will provide a home for Barry students for decades to come. She also contributes to a scholarship fund at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Boca Raton, Florida, and has served as a featured speaker at the Council of Catholic Women’s annual meeting where she spoke about her investiture into the Order of Malta and explained the ancient organization’s mission.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Kolasa is a clinical psychologist who received a master’s degree from Barry’s School of Social Work and a doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University where she pursued her interest in organizational psychology. She has served as lecturer and clinical supervisor at Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Barry universities.
Kolasa has created a lasting bond with Barry University and is an active member of the Board of Trustees and a member of both the finance and investment committees. As a member of the Society of Founders in the Covenant Society, Barry’s planned giving program, Kolasa is helping to guarantee the fulfillment of Barry’s mission well into the 21st century.