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Why I Give

‘Education Is Everything’ For Alumna

‘Education Is Everything’ For Alumna
Vicki Spedicato Vila ’93 (top right) donates to the University in hopes of helping other students achieve their dreams – much like she did. Pictured with Vicki are her husband, Val, and children (from left), Eva, Veronica and Valentino Vincent (or “Nino”).

My husband, Val, and I have both donated to our alma maters every year that we have been able to make a contribution. For us, education is everything. None of our parents went to college, nor did they have disposable income, but they always emphasized the importance of higher education. 

Both of us were taught by Jesuits; he at Regis High School in New York City and me at Scranton. The emphasis on inquiry, service and scholarship has stayed with us through everything we’ve done, allowing us to travel far from our roots, raise a family, and keep our moral compass steady, even in rough times. 

In my case, I also donate to give back – to pay it forward, if you will. The University awarded me a modest, but important scholarship each year that helped my family a great deal. Perhaps the biggest reason I give to the University is to honor the sacrifices my parents and grandparents made in order to save money over many years and send me to college. Because of them, especially my Mom, I graduated debt free and was able to pursue my dream of becoming a journalist, eventually landing the greatest job I could have imagined, working as an editor at The New York Times. It is my hope that my annual donation will go toward helping other students in need achieve their dreams, too.

Vicki Spedicato Vila ’93 
Lives in Charlotte, N.C.

Student Caller Becomes Alumni Donor

Student Caller Becomes Alumni Donor

I worked in The Royal Fund for two years as a student caller, listening to alumni share their Scranton stories and learning about the many different generations, experiences and relationships that connect them to the University. It was always inspiring to hear someone speak from the heart about why they love Scranton and why they choose to make a contribution each year. Remembering those conversations is what motivated me to make my first gift a few months ago. 

The class of 2012 chose to dedicate the money raised from our Senior Class Gift to textbook scholarships for Scranton students in need. At the end of the year, it was extremely gratifying to see that although most of us made gifts of less than $50, together my classmates and I raised approximately $4,200, which is enough to provide seven students with $600 in textbook financial aid vouchers. 

I look forward to being one of many alumni to contribute to the University in the years to come.

Katie Pisano ’12 
Lives in Columbus, N.J.

Why Do I Give to The Royal Fund?

Why Do I Give to The Royal Fund?
As he approaches his 50th class anniversary, Bob Costello ‘63 fondly recalls his time on the Commons, including his eight-hour days working in the University’s Registrar’s Office. Costello contributes to The Royal Fund because, as he says, “It’s payback time.”

I am from an old Irish family that lived in the Hill Section of Scranton. My dad died in the summer of 1947 and I was enrolled in Girard College in Philadelphia, a boarding school for fatherless boys, and I lived there for 10 years. I found the Jesuits soon thereafter – my first contact. A couple of blocks from Girard at 17th and Stiles Street was the Church of the Gesu, where I went for Sunday Mass, and to the adjoining St. Joe’s Prep where I went for my confirmation lessons.

My Jesuit connections at Girard were heaven sent. I was in awe of their intelligence, the depth of their sermons, and their willingness to reach out to a bunch of orphan kids to show us the way. I remember fondly one short, rotund Jesuit who would make his rounds during Mass waking up those Girard boys who had dozed off – with a knock to the head with the collection basket!

Upon returning to Scranton, I applied to the University.  I received a partial scholarship, but still couldn’t make the tuition. I wrote the dean a letter of regret that I could not attend. Within a day, he called and I was awarded a full work scholarship. I had the privilege of working for the University’s registrar, the late John A. Finnegan, an uncle of U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden. These were fond memories. I worked my eight hours a day in the Registrar’s Office and also attended early morning, noon and evening classes. At night I played jazz string bass in local bands to supplement my income. It took me five years, but I graduated in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

My University of Scranton degree has served me well. My bosses in Harrisburg or Philadelphia would say, “Are there any more like you from that school in Scranton?” My jobs with generals, newspapers, a mayor, a governor, a state health secretary and hospital administrators and physicians placed me at my epochal local, state and national news events. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Thank you, Jesuits. Thank you, teachers. Thank you, University of Scranton employees.

Now, it’s payback time!

Bob Costello ’63
Lives in Dunmore

Small Gifts Meeting Great Needs

Small Gifts Meeting Great Needs
Caitlin Brady ’12 (front row, second from left), Nurses-2-Newborns founder, accepts a donation on behalf of a student club from Scranton Preparatory School. Through a successful bake sale, the high school students raised $250 for the newborns in need initiative, which is part of the Scranton [Micro]Grants campaign.

With the launch of Scranton [Micro]Grants on Feb. 1, The University of Scranton became one of the first schools in the country to introduce a micro-philanthropy campaign. Emphasizing that small gifts can make a big difference, the [Micro]Grants initiative highlights various Scranton programs with modest fundraising goals, and invites alumni, parents and friends to make a direct contribution. 

One of the first campus organizations to sign on for micro-funding was Nurses-2-Newborns, a club founded by University of Scranton nursing students to provide newborn clothing, food and supplies for families in need. Caitlin Brady ’12, club founder and president, established Nurses-2-Newborns after watching several new mothers leave the hospital without clothes for their infants. Through Scranton [Micro]Grants, Brady raised more than $2,000 from 40 generous donors, allowing the club to hold its third clothing drive and fill an entire hospital room with infant care products.

Nurses-2-Newborns was just one of many transformational campus projects to benefit from Scranton [Micro]Grants. By the end of the fiscal year on May 31, [Micro]Grants had collected $17,055 from 275 donors, providing significant financial resources for 12 different programs.

To learn about current projects in need of funding, visit

Thank You, 7’s and 2’s!

Thank You, 7’s and 2’s!

Reunion 2012 was a celebration full of participation. With the help of 73 alumni volunteers, the milestone classes came together to raise $291,976.92 from 1,137 alumni donors!

If your class year ends in “3” or “8” and you would like to become a Reunion 2013 committee volunteer, contact Marge Gleason at or 570-941-5997.

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