St. Benedict’s Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy and Board Chairman William H. Connolly Jr. recently welcomed two new members to St. Benedict's Board of Trustees: Eduardo Lara, of Westfield, and Kevin Cummings, of Summit.

Cummings is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Investors Bancorp and Investors Bank; Lara is Vice President of Marketing and Product Development at Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey.

“We are delighted to have Ed Lara’s marketing expertise and commitment to the Newark Community extend to St. Benedict’s Prep,” Connolly said. “Kevin, one of the most prominent bankers in the metropolitan area, brings invaluable leadership, banking skills and community involvement to us. We are grateful to both of them.”

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Cummings, a native of Jersey City, previously served as president and CEO of Investors Bancorp and Investors Bank since 2008 and was appointed to serve on the Boards on the same date. Prior to 2008, he served as the Bank’s COO.

The bank’s performance was recognized on Forbes’ “Best Banks in America” list since 2012. Cummings is a past recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year New Jersey Award for transforming the bank into a growth company.

Prior to joining Investors Bank, Cummings had a 26-year career with KPMG LLP, where he became a CPA and Partner. A graduate of Middlebury College, Cummings earned an MBA from Rutgers University’s School of Business.

Cummings serves on the boards of The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children, Liberty Science Center, Independent College Fund of New Jersey, The Federal Home Loan Bank of N.Y., Greater Trenton, New Jersey Business and Industry Association and The Community Foundation of New Jersey. 

In addition, he is a member of the Development Leadership Council of Morris Habitat for Humanity and has served as the former Chairman of the Board of the New Jersey Bankers Association.

“I am honored to be invited to serve on St. Benedict’s Board of Trustees and to join an exceptional group of business, civic, and academic leaders to help guide the school as it moves ahead,” Cummings said. “Investors Bank and St. Benedict’s Prep share a similar philosophy about creating a positive environment that provides intellectually motivated individuals opportunities to develop their full range of talents. 

"St. Benedict’s is a remarkable school which does the heavy lifting in our communities by developing and shaping our next generation of leaders.”

Lara joined Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey at the end of 2011 as Director, Marketing Strategy. He is responsible for marketing, consumer experience, customer digital strategy and product development.  

Prior to joining Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Lara worked at Procter & Gamble and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, where he had P&L and marketing responsibilities on major U.S. and global brands.

A graduate of De La Salle University in the Philippines, Lara earned MBA from Columbia’s Business School.

A member of the Board of Trustees of the Scholarship Fund for Inner City Children, a Newark based nonprofit, Lara is also a member of the Marketing Advisory Board of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Lara is pleased to represent the Newark-based Horizon BCBSNJ on the St. Benedict’s Board of Trustees.

“Horizon BCBSNJ has been a long-time supporter of St. Benedict’s Prep and its mission of helping young men and women in Newark achieve their full potential,” he said.” I am privileged to represent our company, and I look forward to not only helping out the faculty, staff and students in their mission but to also learning from the St. Benedict’s community.”

St. Benedict’s Chief Advancement Officer Michael Fazio noted the wealth of experience and networks both men bring to the Board.

"It has been a priority for St. Benedict's Prep to recruit trustees – both alumni and friends – who believe deeply in our mission, are thought shapers in our state and region, and who exemplify the type of leaders our students are capable of becoming. 

"We are so very fortunate that Kevin and Ed have agreed to serve The Hive.”

About St. Benedict’s Preparatory School

St. Benedict's Preparatory School was founded by the Benedictine Monks in 1868 and is one of the oldest and most successful urban schools in the country. Over its history, the Catholic school has educated a rich variety of successive immigrant groups and the local community in and around Greater Newark. It now serves students primarily of African-American and Latino heritage, in grades K through post-graduate. Ninety-eight percent of its graduates go on to college with 87 percent obtaining a degree or on track to graduate.  “The Resurrection of St. Benedict’s,” a segment on CBS’s 60 Minutes was aired in 2016 (www.sbp.org/60Minutes).