Robert V. Nicoletti


When Robert V. Nicoletti enrolled in the Fox School of Business, he couldn’t have foreseen the subtle life turns that would come to shape him personally and professionally. The first life turn began when Mr. Nicoletti started school at Temple University in 1950, and shortly thereafter, met his future wife, Beatrice F. Ludovici (in Mitten Hall), then a student in the Teachers College-School of Education at Temple. Their relationship instantly became the one sure part of Mr. Nicoletti’s life. The two quickly fell for each other and would go onto marry on July 28, 1956.

However, while Beatrice remained in school, in 1952, Robert left Temple to serve in the US Army until 1955. Along with his military responsibilities, he enjoyed the sport of boxing on the team. In the interim, Beatrice earned her bachelor of science degree in education in 1954 on a full scholarship and earned her master of science degree in education in 1956 through a fellowship. After he completed his service, Robert returned to Temple to finish his business degree with a major in pre-law, graduating from Temple’s Fox School of Business in 1956. Preparing for graduation and getting married in July, applying to law school (fortunately) was not ideal for Mr. Nicoletti at the time. He visited the career center on campus where they referred him to a small real estate agency in the Oxford Circle section of Philadelphia — Ray Richman Real Estate. He took a job as a sales associate and never looked back. The second life turn coincided with the real estate boom following World War II, which produced thousands of homes along Roosevelt Boulevard. Mr. Nicoletti suddenly found himself in a prime position and embraced it, learning the fundamentals and intricacies of the residential and commercial real estate business from Mr. Richman. Within two years of marriage and working with Mr. Richman, Mr. and Mrs. Nicoletti started a family. To support his growing family, Mr. Nicoletti supplemented his income by teaching history in a local elementary school for several years. He was voted Best Teacher by his students and colleagues! “Six years after graduation, in 1962, my father founded his own company, Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation,” says son Mark R. Nicoletti, Sr. Today the firm has grown into the third generation to include two grandsons, John M. Peruto and Michael F. Ferrier, III; a son-in-law, Joseph J. Ferrier, CPA; and a partnership between the three children — Donna Nicoletti Ferrier, LRB, Realtor®; Lori Nicoletti Peruto, Esq.; and Mark R. Nicoletti, Sr. “We are one of the largest privately held commercial real estate companies in the Philadelphia region, and are proud to say we are a strong, thriving, healthy and successful family-owned business.” Mark credits his father’s unrelenting work ethic for that. “My father literally worked seven days a week, scouting potential properties to become part of our portfolio, checking on construction, developing key relationships with banks and more,” Mark says. “My dad got up every day and focused on what was in front of him. He never talked about how big he wanted the company to get, but rather that it is vital that we work hard, keep the strong work ethic, principles and values that he has led by and protect the company so that we may perpetuate it for the future generations. He was very strategic, but not in a typical manner for a real estate developer. He was very forward thinking. He bought a lot of properties that he held for 30 or 50 years.

In our business, that is very unusual.” says Mark, who worked beside his father for 35 years. Mr. Nicoletti may never have described them as part of a master plan, but today, his children know there was clear evidence that the plan was in place and that his strategies and ethos has stood the test of time. “My dad felt at home at Temple,” Mark says. “He loved the work ethic of the other students while he was there. He thought they valued their education more because so many of them were responsible for their own tuition, worked hard, and took school seriously,” Mark says. “He really loved his school and felt like his core values were in sync with the Temple community. He was so proud to have been able to attend Temple and graduate with such an impressive degree.” For all his professional success, one of his most defining principles was that family came first. It was his family from which Mr. Nicoletti derived the most pride. He was extremely proud of his children and 11 grandchildren. Donna says, “He may have worked seven days a week, but he spent every minute of his free time with us, and when not with us, he was only a phone call away to provide the love and guidance we needed. His grandchildren were his social life in the latter years of his life. Family vacations, lively and of course instructional and educational conversations, and family celebrations, were all very important to my dad, which has left us with heartfelt loving memories as recent as his 85th Birthday Celebration on January 16, 2016.” In 2006, when Mr. Nicoletti needed a kidney transplant, seven family members volunteered theirs. His youngest daughter, Lori Nicoletti Peruto, proved to be compatible and was the life-saving donor. The surgeries were performed at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in part by Cataldo Doria, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS, another Fox Centennial Honoree and the Nicoletti Family Professor of Transplant Surgery. Within a few weeks, both were back to their normal lifestyles. The transplant provided Mr. Nicoletti with another 10 years with his family. He died in February 2016, at 85, two weeks after joining the procession at Fox’s winter commencement. Organ donation held a very special place in the heart of Mr. Nicoletti. Feeling extremely grateful over a period of 10 years and knowing that God had been very good to him, he looked for ways to pay the good fortune back, expressly through promoting organ donation by supporting the Gift of Life Donor Program of Philadelphia and the Gift of Life Family House. His daughter Lori sits on the board of the Gift of Life Family House Additionally, Mr Nicoletti partnered with Jefferson and has helped to fulfill Jefferson’s education, research and patient care mission with giving that includes the Nicoletti Family Professorship in Transplant Surgery, the Beatrice F. Nicoletti Professorship in Nephrology, and the Nicoletti Family Scholarship. In 2012, Mr. Nicoletti was honored with The Award of Merit, the highest civic honor that Jefferson University Hospital and Health Systems bestows.

It recognizes and celebrates transformational contributions to healthcare, health education, and discovery through leadership, innovation, and philanthropy In 2016, Robert Nicoletti made his most significant investment in Jefferson with a gift to establish the Jefferson Nicoletti Kidney Transplant Center. On December 14, 2016, the Nicoletti Kidney Transplant Center opened at the Jefferson Transplant Institute. The center has helped revolutionize living donor transplants, such as Mr. Nicoletti’s. “Dad believed in helping everyone in a comprehensive way,” Mark says. “The Jefferson team helped us, and he wanted to pass it on for others by establishing the Nicoletti Kidney Transplant Center.” Finally, Mr. & Mrs. Nicoletti were very civic-minded citizens. Their “interests” celebrated the culture and arts education in Philadelphia as sponsors and patrons of “All the Arts,” serving on the board of various museums and music organizations, including the Mann Music Center, The Philly Pops and the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Ballet, theatre, and community-based organizations throughout the years. They served in both leadership and volunteer rolls for many non-profit organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and most recently, sponsored Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia. Mr. Nicoletti enjoyed the honor of membership at the Union League of Philadelphia for over 33 years. As members, Mrs. Nicoletti was a member of the Millennium Table. All these notable and exciting contributions Mr. and Mrs. Nicoletti have made relate back to the core values that both of them individually possessed but were enhanced and enriched by their time at Temple!

Temple University Degree
Bachelor of Science ’56, Fox School of Business – 70th Annual Commencement | Major: Pre-Law | Newman Club 2, 3, 4 | Pre-Law Club 3 | YRC 3 | Freshman Commission | Dean: Harry A Cochran

Title & Company
Founder, Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation, 1962

Temple University Awards & Affiliatons

  • Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, 1997
  • Chairman’s Circle
  • Former Dean’s Council, Fox School of Business

What he wanted to Be when he was 20 years old
He thought he wanted to be a lawyer. As it turns out, he had more of a fascination than a calling.

Best piece of advice anyone ever gave me

  • Mark R. Nicoletti, Sr. (son): “He led more by example than advice. My dad was a very transparent, honest, straightforward man. He was warm and unpretentious. He was so strong and direct, he never felt like he needed to misrepresent anything. He was very predictable in that way. He never imposed his opinion on you, either. He just lived his life the way he expected you to live yours.”
  • Donna N Ferrier (daughter): “He impressed so many people by his very nature and unique ability to communicate to anyone, on any level, finding some way to identify with each person and reach common ground, to relate to them and to make everyone feel valued and comfortable.”