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UD President Patrick Harker (left) presents Marichu Valencia and Donald Puglisi the 2013 President's Award for Philanthropic Commitment at the annual Celebration of Scholarship.
The University of Delaware has received a
generous commitment of $1 million in support of the Department of Music
from Donald J. Puglisi, MBNA America Professor Emeritus of Business, and
his wife, Marichu Valencia. At the request of the donors, the
University will use the gift to establish a giving challenge as an
incentive for others to invest in the College of Arts and Sciences'
Department of Music.
"We are again extremely grateful for Don and Marichu's generosity and
support for one of our hallmark programs," says George Watson, dean of
the College of Arts and Sciences. "Their gift represents a continued and
meaningful investment in our quality education and performance
programs, the impact of which will be felt by our students and the
surrounding community for decades to come."
This is Puglisi's and Valencia's second million dollar gift in
support of the Department of Music. Their first gift, made in November
2010, established the Donald J. Puglisi Music Enrichment Fund, which
provides resources for a variety of uses including undergraduate
scholarships, student ensembles, visiting professors, guest artists and
The couple's latest gift will be used to establish the Puglisi
Challenge, designed to encourage donors' commitments and bolster their
impact by matching their individual gifts with Puglisi funds. During the
Challenge, new commitments of $25,000 to $1 million designated to any
allocation within the Department of Music will receive a 1:1 match, and
the donor will be recognized at the total match level. Donations from
individuals and family foundations are eligible for the Puglisi
Challenge; however, gifts from other foundations and corporate matching
programs do not qualify for this challenge match. Corporate donations
will be reviewed and matched on a case by case basis. The challenge,
which began on July 1, will run until June 30, 2016, or as long as
sufficient matching funds remain.
Paul Head, Department of Music chair and Unidel Professor of Music,
has witnessed the transformative effect that Puglisi and Valencia's
previous contributions have had on the department and is excited by the
opportunities that will arise from the gifts generated by the Puglisi
"Don and Marichu's remarkable generosity has had a profound and
sustained impact on the Department of Music -- faculty and students
alike," says Head. "Their financial support has allowed us to address
serious and immediate challenges, such as upgrading our media service
operations to give students and faculty easier access to the
department's vast array of music-related resources. All the while, the
endowment continues to grow, providing funds for our students and
faculty to travel domestically and abroad, which is already paying
dividends in terms of national and international visibility. The
implications of such flexibility for recruitment, networking and faculty
retention are infinite!"
As a beloved faculty member in UD's Department of Finance from 1971
through his retirement in 2001, Puglisi mentored and inspired countless
students. Though the Department of Music is clearly a philanthropic
priority, Puglisi and his wife have a long history as generous
benefactors to multiple areas at UD, including undergraduate
scholarships, athletics, the Lerner College of Business and Economics,
the performing arts and the University Museums. The couple was honored
in May with the 2013 President's Award for Philanthropic Commitment, a
recognition given annually by University President Patrick Harker to
acknowledge a donor or donor family whose scholarship support has had a
significant impact on UD and its undergraduates.
Puglisi has a unique perspective on the couple's generosity.
"I view each gift to the University as an investment," says Puglisi.
"I choose my investments carefully and expect them to be sound. Our
previous gifts to the Department of Music proved to be extremely wise
investments, the returns of which can be seen in the many
accomplishments of the musicians and ensembles that benefit from these
Some of the Department of Music's accomplishments in recent years
have been the recruitment of world-renowned faculty members, including
violinist and Trustees Distinguished Professor of Music Xiang Gao, and
the international success UD ensembles have experienced overseas. For
example, the Chorale placed second at the B??la Bart??k International
Choir Competition in Hungary in 2012, and most recently, the Symphony Orchestra completed its first invitational tour in Bogota, Colombia in May.
According to Puglisi, making an additional commitment to the Department of Music was an easy decision.
"When an investment is performing well, you should consider adding to
it, and that's what Marichu and I are doing here," he says.
Puglisi and Valencia hope that their most recent gift can serve as an inspiration to other potential donors.
"Music is truly an international language and something that has been
an important part of the life Donald and I have created together," says
Valencia. "Gifts to the Department of Music don't just support the
students who participate in music courses and ensembles; they also
support the local community by infusing it with the cultural richness
that can only be provided by access to the performing arts. There is an
inherent value in such programs that warrants community support. Donald
and I are grateful to have this opportunity to incentivize others to
give to this worthwhile program."
For more information or to make a gift to the Puglisi Challenge, please contact Stacey Muzzi at 302-831-0764 or email@example.com.
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