University Inherits California Home

The University’s endowment increased by one million dollars after a home in California that was given to the school by two major players in the soap opera “General Hospital” was sold.

The house, located in Rancho Mirage, CA was owned by Gloria and Norma Monty, sisters. Gloria was the executive producer for “General Hospital,” while Norma headed the show’s writing team.

The money that was added to the endowment was invested, according to Vice President Grey Dimenna. “A portion of those investment earnings are used to support numerous University programs, including scholarships for students,” he said.

“The use of each endowment fund is determined by the original source of the funds,” William Craig, Vice President for Finance, said. “Endowments that were donated are expended based on the specifications of the donor. In this case, the proceeds of the investment per the donors’ wishes will go to offset costs for the Communication building and equipment,” he added.

Donna Dolphin, communication professor, said the University courted Gloria and Norma as philanthropists who could possibly donate and develop relationships with the University. Along with the donation of their home, they served on the University’s Communication Advisory council where they provided their insights on the development of Jules Plangere Center’s television studio.

“Usually donors are not that involved, but they were,” Dolphin said. She said she recognized the women through their professional accomplishments when they came to take a tour of the school.

“When television was all live and when the world of work was all men, there was this woman, Gloria, who stood ten feet tall, one of the first woman directors of television,” Dolphin said.

Gloria was responsible for saving the soap opera, “General Hospital,” when it was in its final weeks. She was asked to keep the show running smoothly until its close but instead was inspired to bring it back to life. She put the “sex and sizzle into soap operas” and made it more appealing to younger crowds, Dolphin continued.

Gloria won two Emmy awards for Outstanding Daytime Drama Series and was nominated for six. Norma was nominated for two for her writing participation in the drama series. Both women’s nominations were between the years of 1981 through 1986.

“In 2000, they left the house to the University but retained a life estate in the house, meaning that they were allowed to live in the house for the rest of their lives but when they both died the house would belong to the University, Dimenna said. Gloria died in 2006 and Norma died in 2012.

“Since the University had no use for a residence in California, it was decided that the house should be sold,” Dimenna said. The house was placed on the market in September 2012 and sold in December of 2012.

“Gloria and Norma Monty were two of the most elegant and funloving television professionals and life-lovers that I have ever met, and I am privileged to have known and been influenced by them,” Dolphin said.

Gloria and Norma were born in Allenhurst, New Jersey. Gloria received an education from the University of Iowa, New York University and Columbia University, and was also president of Gloria Monty Productions, Inc. in Los Angeles, CA. Norma went to school at the College of St. Elizabeth, Columbia University and the Film Institute of New York University, and headed the English Department at Middletown Township High School North for more than 15 years.

One of the women’s greatest achievements, “General Hospital,” is an American daytime television medical drama. It is the third longest-running soap opera in the United States, winning 11 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series.