2016 Steven J. Diner Ethical Leadership Award

Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership honors 2016 recipient of the annual Steven J. Diner Ethical Leadership Award

Mr. Alex Plinio, Retiring Co-Founder, Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership


The award reception, including a formal presentation and refreshments, will take place on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at Rutgers Business School in Newark from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM.


About the Awardee

Alex Plinio’s lifelong passion for leadership development, community and civic action, as well as his commitment to the revitalization of Newark, inspired him to join with like-minded colleague, James Abruzzo, to establish the Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership (CNPL) over 12 years ago at Rutgers Business School (RBS) in Newark, NJ. Following four successive years of growth, the Prudential Foundation and Prudential Financial approached Alex and James to create and lead the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL). The Institute continues the work of developing leaders in the nonprofit sector in Newark, and now across the east coast, while also delivering programs within RBS and for corporations and government agencies to promote and help create a stronger ethical culture. Together, Messrs. Plinio and Abruzzo possess over seventy years of experience that spans domestic and international nonprofit management and consulting, higher education, research, large corporate and foundation governance, and the start-up of several nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.  The Institute for Ethical Leadership’s programs are distinguished by the practical knowledge, experience, entrepreneurial spirit and social conscience of its founders.

Alex J. Plinio, is the former President and CEO of American Field Services (AFS-USA), the largest nonprofit international and intercultural student exchange program in the United States, where he engineered the successful turnaround of the troubled organization.  Mr. Plinio previously played an integral role in the founding of the Prudential Foundation, then served as its President, performing an instrumental role in the redevelopment of the City of Newark during its renaissance. Earlier in his career, Mr. Plinio held senior executive positions at Prudential Financial in the areas of insurance, investments, financial services and public affairs, and also served as Head of Prudential Annuity Services, a billion-dollar revenue retirement products business.  His expertise lies in the areas of marketing, operations and administration, change management and start-ups. Mr. Plinio has founded and served on the boards of many organizations devoted to community and economic development, youth, education and the arts.

Mr. Plinio has presented before numerous and diverse audiences including the Conference Board, US Council of Mayors, business and professional groups among others. He was honored by Thomas Edison State College with the Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, for his distinguished record of state and national service. He is a recipient of the Private Sector Initiatives Award from the President of the United States and the Rutgers Outstanding Alumnus Award.


About the Award

This annual award is in honor of a dear friend and champion of the Institute for Ethical Leadership, Steven J. Diner, former Rutgers-Newark Chancellor. The Steven J. Diner Ethical Leadership Award is given annually to an individual who demonstrates a long-term commitment to strengthening civil society through ethical leadership. In addition, the annual awardee names a nonprofit organization in Newark that receives a monetary prize. This year, Alex Plinio has chosen Ironbound Community Corporation to receive the monetary prize in his honor. Founded in 1969, ICC’s mission is to engage and empower individuals, families and groups in realizing their aspirations and, together, work to create a just, vibrant and sustainable community. ICC impacts the lives of nearly 1,000 people daily and thousands annually. The majority of ICC’s 3,000 annual clients are from very low to low income households with low literacy and English proficiency and multiple family stressors.

To learn more about past award recipients, expand the menu options for “Steven J. Diner Ethical Leadership Award.”


Support this Award Today

Please consider making a contribution in support of the Steven J. Diner Ethical Leadership Award, in honor of Alex Plinio and for your commitment to Rutgers University and community engagement in the City of Newark. A check to the Steven J. Diner Ethical Leadership Award may be sent to:

Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership
Steven J. Diner Ethical Leadership Award
1 Washington Park, 10th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102

You can also make your contribution and RSVP online, click here.

We thank you in advance for your support.

General Inquiries/Questions please contact us.